Nudges from the Biden administration led to a softening of the position of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that peace talks with Russia cannot begin under Vladimir Putin's presidency. Politico writes about this, citing sources familiar with the situation.
During his traditional evening address on November 7, the Ukrainian leader pointed to five conditions for negotiations, including those announced earlier. Among them — restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, punishment for war crimes and reparations.
It is noteworthy that, unlike his previous statements, Zelensky did not mention that negotiations could take place only after Putin left the post of Russian president. One of the sources of the publication notes that the corresponding change occurred after a personal visit to Zelensky by Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
According to a senior administration official, US officials did not directly tell Zelensky and his aides to change their position, but conveyed that Kyiv must demonstrate its readiness to reasonably and peacefully end the war.
«This does not mean that they need to sit down at the negotiating table now. We don't even think that now is the right time, based on what Russia is doing. But they must show a willingness to resolve the conflict, because no one wants this conflict to end, more than Ukraine», — the official said.
The US National Security Council declined to comment on the story, but pointed to Sullivan's comments in Kyiv last week.
« ;The conversation we need to have with the international community in support of Ukraine is what are the conditions for a just and lasting peace for Ukraine? … This is what we intend to strive for, this is what we will support, and this is what we believe our collective efforts can help», — Sullivan said during his visit to Kyiv.
He also stressed that any negotiations must begin with the complete de-occupation of Ukraine.