Ukraine Rules Out More Negotiations With Russia: Mykhaylo Podolyak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s top adviser, admitted over the weekend that Kyiv is not interested in negotiating with Russia. The presidential adviser’s comments come after reports revealed how the White House pressured Kyiv to express willingness to negotiate with the Kremlin, even if those negotiations don’t begin in the near future.
“When you have the initiative on the battlefield, it’s slightly bizarre to receive proposals like ‘you may not be able to do everything by military means anyway, you need to negotiate,” Podolyak said, suggesting Kyiv now believes it is in a position of strength over Russian forces.
Speaking to AFP, Podolyak said that negotiating now would mean capitulating to “a country that is losing.”
Kyiv was effectively given the approval of the White House to reject talks this week when a U.S. official said that only the Ukrainian president could decide to reopen peace talks with Russia.
“We have also said that Zelenskyy gets to determine if and when he’s ready for negotiations and what those negotiations look like,” the U.S. official said, adding that the United States is not pressuring Kyiv to return to the negotiating table. That being said, however, the White House could simply be attempting to withdraw from the spotlight and avoid looking weak on Russia.
What Does Ukraine Need?
Not only did Podolyak dismiss any new negotiations with Russia, but he also explicitly called for more military aid. Specifically, the presidential adviser said that Ukrainian forces need as many as 200 new tanks, 300 additional armored vehicles, and a further 100 artillery systems.
Additional anti-aircraft defense systems were also requested, to assist with defending against missile and drone strikes from Russian positions, as well as 70 additional multiple-launch rocket systems, including HIMARS.
Russia and Ukraine Butting Heads
Both Kyiv and Moscow insist that negotiations failed because of the other side. On November 17, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed that the lack of progress in peace negotiations was the fault of Kyiv, and that recent missile strikes on Ukrainian cities were caused by Ukraine’s “unwillingness” to negotiate.
“The unwillingness of the Ukrainian side to settle the problem, to start negotiations, its refusal to seek common ground, this is their consequence,” Peskov said.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.