Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that he is open to a peace deal with Ukraine has been rejected by U.S. officials who say the leader isn’t serious about ending the war.
“We are willing to negotiate,” he said.
“You should tell the current Ukrainian leadership to stop and come to the negotiating table.”
It’s not the first time that Mr. Putin has flagged the idea of a peace deal to end the Ukraine war, but Western officials have long been skeptical of his intentions. A spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council said in a media statement that there is no reason to believe that Mr. Putin was being genuine.
“Both we and President [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy have said numerous times that we believe this war will end through negotiations,” the spokesperson said.
“Despite Mr. Putin’s words, we have seen no actions to indicate he is interested in ending this war. If he was, he would pull back his forces and stop his ceaseless attacks on Ukraine.”
Peace Deal Scuttled in Early Days of the WarIn 2014, Russia annexed parts of Ukraine’s territory, most notably Crimea, but Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, saw it claim more than 20 percent of the country. Despite its long-awaited counteroffensive against Russia and some territorial gains, Ukraine has failed to make significant progress on the battlefield. The ongoing conflict has seen military casualties on both sides skyrocket.
David Arakhamia, a member of Ukraine’s parliament who led the Ukrainian delegation to Istanbul, Turkey, during peace talks with Russia in March 2022, revealed last year that Russia’s only demand in the peace talks was a commitment from Ukraine that it wouldn’t join NATO and instead would remain neutral.
“This is a war that should never have happened; it’s a war Russians repeatedly tried to settle on terms that were very, very beneficial to Ukraine and us,” he said.
“The major thing they wanted was for us to keep NATO out of the Ukraine.”
The Biden administration has struggled to win congressional approval for additional military aid for Kyiv. Some Republicans insist that Ukraine aid should be accompanied by provisions to secure the U.S. southern border. Others want to forgo humanitarian assistance provisions and restrict foreign aid to weapons and materiel.
Mr. Zelenskyy recently reiterated his opposition to any ceasefire with Russia unless it includes his demands for a complete Russian withdrawal from all Ukrainian territories, including Crimea, the establishment of war crimes tribunals, and Russia’s payment of reparations to Ukraine.