US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky are set to discuss continued American aid to the country, as well as how the ongoing military conflict between Kiev and Moscow might end, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby has revealed. The senior White House official made the remarks as he appeared on CNN This Morning on Wednesday, ahead of Zelensky’s surprise visit to Washington, DC.
“I have no doubt they are going to talk about President Zelensky’s notion of a ‘just peace’ and what that looks like, what are the components of that, and how do we help Ukraine get to that point,” Kirby said.
Moscow, however, is “not interested in diplomacy right now,” Kirby claimed.
“The president really believes that as we approach winter, as we enter … a new phase in this war, of Mr. Putin’s aggression, that this is a good time for the two leaders to sit down face to face and talk,” Kirby said.
Zelensky’s surprise visit seems to be the first foreign trip the Ukrainian president has taken since the beginning of the ongoing conflict in late February. The president is expected to meet Biden, as well as to address the US Congress.
Moscow has repeatedly indicated that it was ready to negotiate with Ukraine, as well as with the collective West as a whole, stressing, however, that any discussions on the matter must take Russia’s interests into account. But Russia also blamed the lack of any diplomatic effort to end the conflict on Kiev and its willingness to continue the hostilities. Zelensky has ‘banned’ himself from negotiating with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while repeatedly pledging to retake the regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye – which formally joined Russia in early October. The Ukrainian leader has also vowed to retake Crimea, which has been part of Russia since a 2014 referendum.
This position was reinforced by the head of Russia’s Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko, earlier in the day, with the senior lawmaker stating that she saw no signs that talks with Ukraine might happen any time soon. “I see no background for negotiations to take place in the near future: There is nothing [to discuss] and with no one,” Matvienko told a news conference.
The senator also provided her take on Zelensky’s visit to the US, suggesting that Washington would not attempt to “push” him into talks with Moscow, focusing, instead, on discussing “new arms deliveries and growing the budget to prop-up Ukraine militarily.”
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