As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its third week, there is still no sign that the Biden administration is attempting high-level diplomacy with Moscow as a way to possibly end the fighting.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the Biden administration doesn’t see the conflict ending anytime soon and that its current strategy is to impose economic pain on Russia and support Ukraine’s military “in its effort to inflict as many defeats on Russia as possible.”
It’s clear at this point that the Western sanctions were factored into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine as they haven’t done anything to deter him. But US officials still say they are in no rush to engage directly with Putin.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed that in the months leading up to the invasion, the US gave Putin “possible off-ramps.” But during the negotiations, the US ignored Putin’s key demands. Putin wanted a guarantee that Ukraine wouldn’t ever join NATO, and even though President Biden said Kyiv wouldn’t be joining the military alliance anytime soon, the US refused to make the promise.
Now, Russia has said it will stop its assault if Ukraine declares neutrality, recognizes Crimea as Russian territory, and recognizes the independence of the breakaway Donbas republics. Instead of supporting negotiations on these terms that could lead to a potential ceasefire, the US is working with its NATO allies to flood weapons into Ukraine.
Blinken said on Wednesday that the Biden administration expects “a strategic defeat” of Russia in Ukraine despite Moscow’s “short-term” gains. “We’ll accomplish this by backing Ukrainians in their fight, by remaining united in holding Russia accountable through the devastating sanctions, the diplomatic isolation and other measures,” Blinken said.
While Blinken says the US expects a Russian defeat in Ukraine, Biden officials told the Post that they don’t see a “clear end to the military phase of this conflict,” meaning the US expects a long, bloody insurgency in Ukraine, and is willing to support it.