Raimondo of U.S. Commerce pledges to continue supporting talks with Ukraine’s economy minister

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo pledged strong and continued support for Ukraine during a meeting with the country’s economy minister, including U.S. government and industry efforts to help rebuild Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, the Commerce Department announced Tuesday.

Ukraine’s Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko briefed Raimondo during their meeting in Washington on Russia’s recent attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and Ukraine’s efforts to promote economic recovery, the official said. Trade in a release.

The pair also discussed a U.S.-Ukrainian infrastructure task force formed by the Commerce Department, the Transportation Department and Ukraine’s Infrastructure Ministry, the department said.

Svyrydenko, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, will meet with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Wednesday, the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington announced.

His visit to Washington comes amid a congressional election that could see President Joe Biden’s Democrats lose control of Congress, with some Republicans already speaking out against continued US support for Ukraine.

Republicans would have the power to block aid to Ukraine if they regain control of Congress, but they are more likely to slow or reduce the flow of defense and economic aid than stop it, said analysts.

Brian Gardner, chief political strategist in Washington for investment bank Stifel, said there was a risk that the bipartisan consensus backing US support for Ukraine could erode if the US economy weakens or slipped into recession in 2023.

“At this point, if public opinion on Ukraine starts to change materially, I think the outlook for US support for Ukraine follows and deteriorates,” he said.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Ismail Shakil; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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Christi C. Elwood