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President Putin has floated the idea of a peace agreement to end the war in Ukraine before, but Western officials have been skeptical that such offers are genuine.
U.S. officials have rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that he is open to a peace deal with Ukraine, stating that the leader isn’t serious about ending the war.
In an interview with Tucker Carlson on Feb. 6 in Moscow, President Putin said he is open to negotiation, but his counterparts in Ukraine and the United States are not. This was the first time a Western journalist had interviewed the Russian president since the Ukraine conflict began in 2022.
“We are willing to negotiate,” President Putin said. “You should tell the current Ukrainian leadership to stop and come to the negotiating table.”
This is not the first time President Putin has indicated the idea of a peace deal to end the Ukraine war, but Western officials have long been skeptical of his intentions. A spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council stated that there is no reason to believe President Putin was genuine.
“Both we and President [Vlodymyr] Zelenskyy have said numerous times that we believe this war will end through negotiations,” the spokesperson said.
“Despite Mr. Putin’s words, we have seen no actions to indicate he is interested in ending this war. If he was, he would pull back his forces and stop his ceaseless attacks on Ukraine,” the spokesperson added.
According to the spokesperson, the United States is expecting Ukraine “to decide its path on negotiations.”
Peace Deal Scuttled in Early Days of the War
Russia annexed parts of Ukraine’s territory in 2014, most notably Crimea, but the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 saw them claim over 20 percent of the country. Despite its long-awaited counteroffensive against Russia and some territorial gains, Ukraine has failed to make significant progress on the battlefield. The ongoing conflict has seen military casualties on both sides skyrocket.
Multiple reports claim that Ukrainian and Russian negotiators came close to a ceasefire agreement and a comprehensive peace solution only five weeks after the conflict began. NATO and prominent members such as the United States and the United Kingdom are alleged to have scuttled the deal.
David Arakhamia, a member of Ukraine’s parliament who led the Ukrainian delegation to Istanbul during peace talks with Russia in March 2022, revealed last year that Russia’s only demand in the peace talks was a commitment from Ukraine not to join NATO and instead remain neutral.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an independent candidate for president of the United States, also made this claim in a Feb. 10
post on X (formerly Twitter).
“This is a war that should never have happened; it’s a war Russians repeatedly tried to settle on terms that were very, very beneficial to Ukraine and us,” he said.
“The major thing they wanted was for us to keep NATO out of the Ukraine.”
The Biden administration has struggled to win congressional approval for additional military aid for Kyiv. Some Republicans insist that Ukraine aid should be accompanied by provisions to secure the U.S. southern border. Others want to forgo humanitarian assistance provisions and restrict foreign aid to weapons and materials.
President Zelenskyy recently reiterated his opposition to any ceasefire with Russia unless it includes his demands for a complete Russian withdrawal from all Ukrainian territories, including Crimea, the establishment of war crimes tribunals, and Russia’s payment of reparations to Ukraine.