The Washington Post reported on Saturday that the US is privately encouraging Ukraine to signal an openness to negotiations with Russia but for public relations purposes, not to actually pursue diplomacy.
Sources told the Post that the US wants Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to drop his official position of ruling out talks with Russia as long as Vladimir Putin is president, which is essentially a call for regime change in Moscow. The idea is to maintain support for Ukraine from nations uneasy about Zelensky’s stance on negotiations.
The report reads: “The request by American officials is not aimed at pushing Ukraine to the negotiating table, these people said. Rather, they called it a calculated attempt to ensure the government in Kyiv maintains the support of other nations facing constituencies wary of fueling a war for many years to come.”
Zelensky signed a decree ruling out talks with Putin’s government after Russia annexed the territory it controls in Ukraine. US officials told the Post that Zelensky’s decree raised concerns in Europe, Africa, and Latin America, all areas feeling the economic impact of the war and Western sanctions on Russia.
Ukraine’s stance on peace talks and maximalist war goals, which include expelling Russia from Crimea, show that they expect the war to last for years to come.
The Post had previously reported that US officials have ruled out the idea of nudging Ukraine to the negotiating table even though they don’t think Kyiv can win the war “outright.” The Biden administration has shown very little interest in diplomacy throughout the war, although The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that National Security Jake Sullivan has engaged in secret talks with top Putin aides.