Politico: After the dialogue with the USA, Zelensky softened his position on the impossibility of negotiations with Russia under Putinʼs term

Sofiia Telishevska

Citing two sources, Politico writes that the White House influence led to a softening of the position of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, regarding the impossibility of negotiations with Russia under Putinʼs term.

At the beginning of the week, Volodymyr Zelensky named five conditions for negotiations. Among them are restoration of territorial integrity of Ukraine, punishment for war crimes and reparations. Contrary to past statements, Zelensky did not say that Putin must step down before such negotiations can take place.

This change, according to one of the sources, took place after several days of negotiations between Kyiv and Washington. In particular, it happened after a personal visit to Zelenskyʼs national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

According to the source, the U.S. officials did not tell Zelensky and his aides directly to change their position, but conveyed that Kyiv should demonstrate its readiness to end the war sensibly and peacefully. The administration hopes that this will show the world that it is Ukraine, not Russia, that wants to end the war.

"This does not mean that they need to sit down at the negotiating table now. We donʼt even think now is the right time, based on what Russia is doing. But they must show readiness to resolve the conflict, because no one wants this conflict to end more than Ukraine," the official noted on condition of anonymity.

During his visit to Kyiv, Sullivan said that the U.S. considers the conditions under which the Kremlin is now ready to conduct dialogue unacceptable, because all talks must begin with the complete de-occupation of Ukraine.

Already on the evening of November 7, in his address, President Zelensky named the conditions for the start of negotiations: restoration of territorial integrity, respect for the UN Charter, compensation for damages, punishment of war criminals and guarantees that the invasion will not be repeated.

  • Citing sources, The Wall Street Journal wrote that the U.S. presidentʼs national security adviser Jake Sullivan has been in talks with Putinʼs aide Ushakov and the secretary of Russiaʼs Security Council Patrushev for the past few months. The interlocutor of the newspaper noted that Sullivan did this to reduce the risk of escalation and keep communication channels open. They did not discuss the settlement of the war.
  • On October 4, Volodymyr Zelensky approved the decision of the National Security and Defense Council on the impossibility of negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.