After a top US general alluded to a window for a diplomatic solution to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the Biden Administration is trying to reassure Kyiv that it is not pressing it into any peace talks with Moscow.
Washington is allegedly in damage control mode, scrambling to assure Ukraine it wasn’t undercutting its goal of expelling the Russians after Kyiv expressed anger and concerns that Washington could push it into seeking a peace settlement.
Kyiv’s reaction was fueled by recent comments by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff’s chairman, General Mark Milley, who argued that Ukraine could not achieve a military victory, suggesting the opportunity for diplomatic engagement during the winter.
Convinced that Kyiv troops have achieved about as much as they could reasonably expect on the battlefield before the winter, Gen. Milley said that they should try to cement their gains at the bargaining table.
Since the initiatives in Turkey to bring about a ceasefire during the first weeks of the conflict broke down without progress, there have been no public attempts to reconvene peace talks between the two sides although Moscow has repeatedly stated that it would not rule out talks, accusing Ukraine of a lack of engagement.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin stressed that Ukraine will not consider entering negotiations with Russia, pointing out that resuming any negotiations isn’t possible.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky previously listed several conditions – including restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity, compensation for all war damage, and punishment of every war criminal- for any negotiations with Russia, also signing in October a decree banning any negotiations with Putin.
With his statement, Kostin only reaffirms Kyiv’s belief that the crucial thing to holding Russia accountable for its war is collecting evidence of war crimes committed in Ukraine by Russian forces and international cooperation against Moscow.