Biden administration quietly shifts strategy on Ukraine and considers talks - Politico
Amid the threat of reduced Western aid to Ukraine, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden and European officials are quietly shifting their attention from supporting Kyiv's goal of a complete victory over Russia to improving the Ukrainian position in negotiations to end the war. The partners are allegedly thinking about preparing Ukraine for defense rather than offense.
This was reported by Politico, citing anonymous sources. The article says that such talks are likely to mean the annexation of some Ukrainian territories by the Russian Federation.
The West, according to Politico's interlocutors, is preparing the country for a strong defense: building up air defense systems, strengthening fortifications, etc. This is "largely aimed at strengthening Ukraine's position in any future negotiations."
"We have always assumed that the only way to end this war is through negotiations. We want Ukraine to have the strongest hand when that happens," the unnamed White House official said. At the same time, he emphasized that no negotiations are planned for now and that Ukrainian troops are still on the offensive and continue to reduce the number of Russian occupation forces.
Journalists believe that Biden finds himself in a difficult situation in the midst of a tense election campaign, with former President Donald Trump and other Republican candidates openly ridiculing his efforts.
A congressional staffer said that discussions about peace talks have allegedly "already begun, but [the administration] cannot publicly back down because of the political risk."
However, Biden recently changed his promises to Ukrainians: he publicly switched from supporting "as long as it takes" to saying that the United States would help "as long as we can." In addition, he said that Kyiv had already won a "huge victory" and that Moscow had "suffered a defeat."
Some analysts believe that this can be translated as follows: get ready to declare a partial victory and find a way to at least conclude a truce.
"It's likely that a shift to a defensive posture will allow the Ukrainians to conserve resources while making it unlikely that Russia will advance further," suggested Anthony Pfaff, an intelligence expert at the U.S. Army War College.
A European diplomat based in Washington said the EU is also raising the issue of speeding up Ukraine's accession to NATO to "put the Ukrainians in the best possible position for negotiations." Perhaps this is a "critical point" for dictator Vladimir Putin, who is believed to be mainly interested in a strategic deal with Washington that does not see Kyiv join the North Atlantic Alliance.
In the end, as John Kirby, the National Security Council's coordinator for strategic communications, has previously noted, it is Putin who must make the first move, and the Russian president has not done so.
"While we would all like to see this war end immediately, Putin has shown no signs of entering into negotiations in good faith," Kirby said.
As OBOZ.UA previously reported:
- On December 27, the United States announced a new $250 million military aid package for Ukraine. It will be the last one in 2023. Read what it will include here.
- The former commander of US forces in Europe, Ben Hodges, said that the lack of major results of Ukraine's counteroffensive is the fault of its Western partners. They failed to provide the Ukrainian military with the weapons and equipment they expected.