November 27, 2022

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Ukrainians say US Democrats’ pressure for peace talks doesn’t win over Putin

Ukrainians say US Democrats' pressure for peace talks doesn't win over Putin

Suspension

Kyiv, Ukraine – Members of Ukraine’s political elite have rejected demands by some Democrats in Congress for negotiations with Russia to end the war, saying this was “not a viable option,” after a group of liberals called on President Biden to push Kyiv into direct talks with Moscow.

The Ukrainians said that Russian President Vladimir Putin closed off any possibility of negotiations by illegally declaring the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, and that the Russians, facing frequent setbacks on the battlefield, would use any ceasefire to rebuild their power and then resume Putin’s plan to steal Ukrainian land and destroy Ukraine as a state .

In a letter to Biden, 30 members of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, led by Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington Democrat), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Biden called To follow up “a proactive push, and redouble efforts to search for a realistic framework for a ceasefire.”

Andrey Sibiha, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential administration and foreign affairs adviser, declined to comment directly on the Liberal Democrats’ message, but said Kyiv’s position was “very clear” in the five-point peace plan presented by President Volodymyr Zelensky during the UN General Assembly in September.

During his speech, Zelensky said that the main points of his plan are “punishment for aggression, protection of life, restoration of security and territorial integrity, security guarantees, and a determination to defend oneself.”

Ukrainian forces advance against Russian fighters in Kherson and Bakhmut

Biden and other leaders of the Group of Seven democratic economic nations have endorsed Zelensky’s call for a “just peace.” in the current situation This month.

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In the statement, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union said such peace “must include” ensuring respect for territorial sovereignty as stipulated in the UN Charter, which would require a full Russian withdrawal from Ukrainian territory.

Sibiha also said that “no negotiations” is possible with Putin after “attempts to illegal annexation” and “sham referendums” held at the end of last month in the four Ukrainian regions partially occupied by Russian forces.

In response to the letter, White House officials reiterated Biden’s position that it is up to Zelensky and Ukraine to decide when, or whether, to enter into peace talks.

Sibiha added that Ukraine is “absolutely confident of the support” of “the United States and the American people,” which he called Ukraine’s number one ally.

But the message inevitably adds to the growing anxiety in Kyiv about maintaining crucial financial and military support from Washington, especially if Republicans regain control of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections. Some Republican leaders have indicated an intention to review US support for Ukraine.

Liberal Democratic lawmakers are among a small but growing group of voices calling on Ukrainians to engage the Russians directly to end the war, or at least offer a ceasefire, even though Putin has repeatedly refused to meet and speak directly with him. Zelensky.

Russia’s systematic attacks exploit the weakness of the Ukrainian power system

Ukrainians are deeply concerned about falling into the trap of Washington’s domestic politics, especially after being embroiled in President Donald Trump’s first impeachment scandal, and said they expect to hear different opinions. But there was a sense of dismay at what they saw as a lack of understanding of Putin’s views.

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“We don’t bring together Republicans and Democrats,” said a senior Ukrainian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive international relations. This is the internal policy of a foreign government. That attitudes towards this war will vary, this is expected.”

“The thing is, in this war, Russia is clearly unable to negotiate in good faith,” the senior official said, noting that Zelensky’s position is a willingness to discuss Russia’s demands only when the Ukrainian lands are restored.

“We had the experience of 2014, when we had an agreement, and how that ended,” the senior official said. For the Russians, it would be in their best interest to have some kind of pause in the fight. But given how much destruction they have already caused, we have nothing to lose.”

“Dialogue is when each side takes a step back to achieve a greater goal,” the senior official continued. “In the current situation, they have already caused a lot of damage. They alone destroyed the discussion opportunities. The only thing left is nuclear weapons. Other than that, they did everything for us.”

The setbacks in its invasion of Ukraine increased nuclear threats from Russia, echoing Cold War events such as the little-known nuclear crisis of 1983. (Video: Joshua Carroll/Washington Post)

Another Ukrainian official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to maintain relations with Washington, was more frank. “This is an encouraging sign for Putin,” said the second official of the Liberal Democrats’ letter.

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Orissa Lutsevich, chair of the Ukraine Forum at London-based think tank Chatham House, said negotiations on these terms were “impossible”.

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“Some people say, ‘Look, to Finland – they lost part of their land, but they maintained a nation-state,'” Lutsevich said by phone from Berlin. But you don’t want to negotiate with an enemy who wants to destroy you completely. It’s not a viable proposition.”

“The proposal to negotiate with Putin was to appease Hitler,” Lutsevich said, and that the United States “could not negotiate Ukraine without Ukraine.”

“Ukraine defends its way of life, which Russia wants to destroy,” she said. “That’s what it’s about. It’s not about the land.”

A European diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said the language of the letter was “vague” and most likely would not affect the position of EU member states.

“It is normal for the Ukrainians to indicate that a ceasefire will serve Russia in regrouping and training its new forces,” the diplomat said.