November 26, 2022


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US urges Ukraine to negotiate with Russia

US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley insisted on Wednesday that US support had not waned, but said Kyiv was in a good position to start talks because its soldiers were able to stand up to Russia.

He said that the Russians are now strengthening their grip on 20% of Ukrainian territory and that the front lines from the city of Karviv to Kherson are being stabilized.

“The probability of a Ukrainian military victory includes the expulsion of the Russians from all of Ukraine. […] “In Crimea, it’s not very likely to happen soon, militarily speaking,” he said.

“Politically there could be a political solution where the Russians leave, that’s possible,” Milley added.

No US pressure

The White House on Friday reiterated that only Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is in a position to approve the opening of talks between Ukraine and Russia.

“We’ve also said that it’s up to President Zelensky to say when he’ll be ready for negotiations and in what form,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

“No one in America is encouraging, urging or pushing him to the negotiating table,” he said.

But earlier this month, Volodymyr Zelensky said he was no longer demanding Vladimir Putin’s departure in order to start negotiations, a change that came after pressure from the White House.

An example of the First World War

<p>Ukrainian army tanks on the way to Kherson (Ukraine) on November 18, 2022</p>
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<p class=US support for Ukraine remains strong. This week the White House asked Congress to release an additional $38 billion to support Kyiv.

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But at the same time, the executive did not contradict the view of General Mark Milley, who said in New York last week that 100,000 people were killed and wounded on the battlefield in Ukraine — a figure close to the Russian military’s estimate — and 40,000 civilians.

If Ukraine continues to struggle to restore pre-2014 borders, Mr. Millie suggested more.

He compared the situation to World War I, when both sides were locked in a conflict that claimed a million lives between August and December 1914, with a fixed front and refusal to hold peace talks. Four years later, at the end of 1918, 20 million people were mourned.

So when there is an opportunity to negotiate, when peace is reached, seize it,” he said.

A diplomatic way

<p>Civilians during food distribution in Kherson (Ukraine) on November 19, 2022</p>
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<p class=Milli’s comments raised fears that the US may want to reconsider Kyiv’s goal of recapturing all Russian-occupied land, including Crimea and the Donbass, which Ukraine lost control of in 2014.

Charles Kupson, a professor at Georgetown University, said the Biden administration was trying to make sure the door was open to negotiations, and that Mr Milley was already “a little forward-looking”.

“I don’t think it’s premature. I think it’s prudent. Russians and Ukrainians should have the opportunity to have a diplomatic channel,” he said.

This is a signal to Volodymyr Zelensky, whose statements are testing the patience of some allies.

“Zelensky, understandably, gets a little heated and says things that allies don’t like,” Kupson says.

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He adds that the White House is trying to fend off any pressure from European allies to end the war before Kyiv is ready.

“The Biden administration wants to go slowly to ensure that the transatlantic consensus remains strong.”