The report reads: “Privately, US officials say neither Russia nor Ukraine is capable of winning the war outright, but they have ruled out the idea of pushing or even nudging Ukraine to the negotiating table. They say they do not know what the end of the war looks like, or how it might end or when, insisting that is up to Kyiv.”
A State Department official told the Post that the issue of ending the war is “a decision for the Ukrainians to make.” The official said that Washington’s “job now is to help them be in absolutely the best position militarily on the battlefield … for that day when they do choose to go to the diplomatic table.”
The report comes after Ukraine hardened its stance on negotiations with Russia in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of four Ukrainian territories. In response, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree ruling out peace talks with Russia as long as Putin is president, essentially calling for regime change in Moscow.
The lack of a US push for diplomacy to end the war comes after President Biden warned the risk of nuclear “armageddon” was higher now than at any time since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Since then, Putin has escalated the war with wide-scale missile strikes on power infrastructure across Ukraine in response to the truck bombing of the Kerch Bridge, which connects the Crimean peninsula to the Russian mainland.
Since the Russian escalation, the US and NATO have vowed to continue supporting Ukraine. Biden recently signed a stopgap funding bill into law that included $16 billion in new aid for Ukraine, bringing the total authorized US spending for the war over $67 billion, which is higher than Russia’s entire military budget for 2021.
The Post report said that President Biden had to tell Zelensky that he would have a hard time asking Congress for more money to spend on the war if Ukraine seemed ungrateful. Earlier in the war, Zelensky often said that the US and NATO weren’t doing enough to support Ukraine. The Ukrainian leader is still calling for more military aid but appears to have backed off on the harsher language, although some of his top officials have not.