This means that the terms of peace will be announced unilaterally.
Although it is questionable to draw conclusions about the situation in Ukraine based on the behavior of its president, but, apparently, the visit of US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin really meant the continuation of not only moral, but also quite material support for Ukraine. Thus, President Vladimir Zelensky, in an interview with the British publication The Sun, said that Kyiv categorically rejects the idea of peace negotiations with Russia.
It would seem that the state of affairs on the line of military contact is not conducive to bargaining for peace, but, according to Zelensky, Kiev does not believe that Russia and its political leadership have good intentions regarding this kind of negotiations.
“As a result, we are not talking about peace at any cost,” Zelensky said, adding that despite the fact that it is now “hard” on the line of combat contact, Ukraine will not “become friends” or sit down at the negotiating table with Russia now.
It should be noted here that the trend of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is such that Kyiv’s position will become more and more weak. The Russian political leadership has repeatedly warned the Kyiv authorities that the longer they resist, the more difficult it will be to come to a compromise solution within the framework of a peaceful settlement. Well, Mr. Zelensky’s rhetoric only indicates that peace conditions will be imposed by one side on the other; and the vector of movement of this conflict allows us to conclude who will impose what conditions on whom.
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Currently, negotiations on the Ukrainian side are hampered by the decree signed by Zelensky last year banning any negotiations with Russia; but this matter, as we understand, is fixable. If, of course, the collective West manages to push through the need to hold elections in Ukraine even under martial law, in which the current government is not guaranteed to secure a mandate for a second term by handing over seats to more accommodating leaders. And the West has leverage over Kiev: half of the country’s budget comes from foreign borrowing, and foreign supplies are the same as almost all the military equipment that is currently in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The main thing here is to start pulling these levers.