Report: US Tells Ukraine Talks Don’t Need to Happen After Milley’s Comments

Milley said this winter will provide an opportunity for diplomacy, but other senior US officials don't agree

According to a report from POLITICO, the Biden administration has been reassuring Ukraine that peace talks with Russia don’t need to happen anytime soon after Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said this winter will provide an opportunity for diplomacy.

Milley said last week that Russia and Ukraine might recognize that victory “is maybe not achievable through military means, and therefore you need to turn to other means.” He expects fighting will slow down this winter, and the moment for peace talks could be “seized.”

Citing unnamed US and Ukrainian officials, the POLITICO report said that US officials have conveyed to Ukraine that Washington was not trying to undercut Kyiv’s stated war goals of driving Russia out of all the territory it has captured. The US also said that just because there may be a pause in fighting this winter, that doesn’t mean peace talks need to happen.

While Milley is calling for peace talks, other high-level US officials are against the idea, including National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The POLITICO report said that Sullivan’s Nationa Security Council is most resistant to the idea of talks, although there are a few aides on the NSC pushing for diplomacy.

The report said that there is a “broad sense” within the Pentagon that the winter will provide a chance to reach a political settlement and that senior US military officials don’t believe Ukraine can achieve its war aims, which include expelling Russia from Crimea. But so far, these views have not had an impact on President Biden or his most senior staff.

Military situation in Ukraine on November 14 (

The talk of diplomacy comes after Russia withdrew from the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, pulling all of its forces from the west bank of the Dnieper River. Pentagon officials said that the situation in the Kherson region is an example of the tough fight ahead, as it will be difficult for Ukraine to launch an offensive across the river.

“Why not start talking about [peace talks] before you throw another 100,000 lives into the abyss?” one US official said in comments to POLITICO.

While many elements of the Biden administration are resisting the idea of pushing for talks between Ukraine and Russia, there has been an increase in dialogue between Washington and Moscow. On Monday, CIA Director William Burns met with his Russian counterpart, although the White House stressed the meeting was focused on warnings over the use of nuclear weapons, not a negotiation over Ukraine.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.