US urges Kiev to consider ‘realistic’ priorities for talks with Russia

  • By Al Mayadeen English 
  • Source: Agencies
  • 14 Nov 2022

After President Volodymyr Zelensky suggested unrealistic conditions for peace talks, a US nudge is aimed at changing his stance to realistic priorities.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan advised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to take a “realistic” negotiating stance in potential talks with Russia, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Sullivan conveyed the message that Zelensky and his officials should formulate realistic demands and priorities for talks, possibly reconsidering their stated goal of restoring control over Crimea, during a meeting in Kiev on November 4, according to the diplomats.

Zelensky was also advised to reconsider his demand that Putin must be removed from power before such discussions can take place.

Washington also suggested that Kiev should show openness to the idea of negotiating with Russia in order to gain leverage.

Earlier this month, Zelensky laid out the conditions for peace negotiations with Russia, demanding “restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, respect for the UN Charter, compensation for all damages caused by the war, and guarantees that the conflict will not happen again,” among other things.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko said Moscow was not putting forward any preconditions for negotiations with Ukraine, but Kiev must show goodwill. Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia was “open for contacts,” but Ukraine “has codified the non-continuation of negotiations.”

Earlier, US President Joe Biden’s administration was secretly pressing Kiev to demonstrate a willingness to negotiate with Moscow, according to those familiar with the negotiations. 

Washington does not want Ukraine to start negotiations with Russia but rather to reassure Kiev that it has the support of other countries, according to the newspaper. “Ukraine fatigue is a real thing for some of our partners,” one US official told The Washington Post.

The discussions highlight how complicated the Biden administration’s position on Ukraine has become, as US officials publicly pledge to support Kiev with massive sums of aid “for as long as it takes” while hoping for a resolution to the conflict that has taken a toll on the world economy and sparked fears of nuclear war over the past eight months.

While US officials agree with their Ukrainian counterparts that Putin is allegedly not serious about talks, for the time being, they acknowledge that President Volodymyr Zelensky’s ban on talks has caused concern in parts of Europe, Africa, and Latin America, where the war’s disruptive effects on the availability and cost of food and fuel are most acute, according to the WSJ.

It is worth noting that the United States is nudging Ukraine to seriously consider the idea of entering negotiations with Russia this winter to stop the ongoing conflict as it doubts none of the two parties can achieve all its goals on the battlefield, according to NBC News.