Despite the continued ‘steadfast’ rhetoric on ‘not backing down’ to Russian forces which has persisted from Zelensky’s office, the consensus among realists has been that Ukraine’s only way out at this point is through negotiated settlement. On a public level at least, the White House has continued to back Kiev in rejecting negotiations as the bloodshed continues.
Yet there has for many months been the suspicion that even the Biden administration sees the proverbial writing on the wall, and is quietly pressing for President Zelensky to engage in negotiations. Kiev has presented its own peace plan to allies, but which Moscow has already long rejected as an impossibility, given it would require that Russian troops simply march back home, handing Crimea and the four annexed territories back to Ukraine. For example, here is Point 6 of Zelensky’s ten point peace plan:
To cease the hostilities, Russia must withdraw all its troops and armed formations from the territory of Ukraine, plain and simple. Ukraine’s full control over its state border, recognized internationally, needs to be restored.
Without this, no long-lasting peace can be achieved. Each day Russian soldiers remain on Ukrainian land, Ukrainians have to fight and die to protect their homes and to shield the world from the long-lasting consequences of this aggression.