Gen. Milley’s Comments on Potential Peace Talks Angers Ukraine

After a top US general alluded recently to a possible window of a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine-Russia conflict during the winter, 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 suggested the opportunity for diplomatic engagement arguing that Ukraine could not achieve a military victory.

Gen. Milley said that Kyiv troops should try to cement their gains at the bargaining table, pointing out that he’s convinced that Ukraine has achieved about as much as it could reasonably expect on the battlefield before the winter.

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.

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.

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.

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.

During his video address to the G20 on Tuesday, Zelensky also ruled out returning to Minsk peace deals, stressing that peace should be reached outside of the Minsk format, adding that Ukraine shouldn’t compromise with its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence.

Responding to Zelensky’s comments, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed out that Kyiv’s rejection of the Minsk format absolutely confirms its unwillingness of Kyiv to negotiate with Moscow.