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US hopes for diplomatic end to Ukraine conflict – NBC

Washington reportedly hopes to use the winter lull to persuade Kiev and Moscow to seek peace

As fighting in Ukraine slows down due to the winter cold, the US believes there may be room for a diplomatic solution to the conflict, NBC reported on Wednesday citing multiple officials “familiar with the matter,” none of whom spoke on the record. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was reportedly “testing the waters” for this during last week’s visit to Kiev.

Sullivan broached the idea of negotiating an end to the conflict, NBC reported citing two people familiar with his meetings in Kiev and one Ukrainian official, all anonymously. Officially, the White House said his visit was meant to “underscore the United States’ steadfast support to Ukraine and its people.”

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According to the outlet’s sources, the US increasingly believes neither Moscow nor Kiev can achieve all of their goals, and that the winter may present an opportunity for talks, possibly mediated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“The potential for talks, we would like to see that happening,” said one unnamed Western official, described as having direct knowledge of military operations. “In the winter everything slows down.”

According to the Ukrainian official, Sullivan told President Vladimir Zelensky that Ukraine would have more, not less, leverage if it declared it was ready to negotiate. While not pressuring Ukraine into anything, Sullivan said it would be easier to maintain Western support if it were “perceived as being willing” to engage in diplomacy, he added.

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Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova
Moscow reaffirms stance on talks with Kiev 

On Tuesday, Zelensky announced a list of Ukraine’s terms for ending the conflict, which include prosecuting Russian “war criminals” and Moscow paying reparations, in addition to “restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity,” presumably referring to its pre-2014 borders. On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reminded reporters that Zelensky signed a law in October banning any negotiations with Russia while Vladimir Putin is president. 

“We are still open to negotiations, we have never refused them, we are ready to conduct them – taking, of course, into account the realities being established at the moment,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during a briefing in Moscow on Wednesday.  

Meanwhile, Russian troops have begun withdrawing from parts of Kherson, which US and Western officials told NBC might encourage Ukraine – but discourage Russia – from sitting down at the negotiating table.

https://ift.tt/y8dtbAS 10, 2022 at 05:19AM
from RT – Daily news

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