November 11, 2022 Russia-Ukraine News

During internal conversations about the war in Ukraine, America’s top general, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, has led strong pressure in recent weeks to seek a diplomatic solution as the fighting heads toward a winter lull.

But Milley’s position isn’t widely supported by President Biden’s national security team, including Secretary of State Tony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who don’t think it’s time. to make a serious push for talks on Ukraine, according to two administration officials familiar with the discussion.

The result is a growing debate within the administration over whether Ukraine’s recent gains on the battlefield should trigger a renewed effort to seek some kind of negotiated end to the fighting, officials say.

Milley’s push for peace has spilled over into the public in recent days, just as Ukraine retakes the city of Kherson. In comments to the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday, Milley praised Ukraine’s military for fighting Russia to a stalemate, but said an outright military victory was out of reach.

“When there is an opportunity to negotiate, when peace can be achieved, seize it. Seize the moment,” Milley said.

The comments came as no surprise to administration officials — given Milley’s advocacy for the job internally — but also raised concerns among some about the administration appearing divided in the eyes of the Kremlin.

While some Biden officials are more open to exploring what diplomacy might look like, sources tell CNN that most senior diplomacy and national security officials are hesitant to give Russian President Vladimir Putin any influence in the negotiating table and think that the Ukrainians should determine when to hold talks, not the United States.

“It’s up to the Ukrainians to decide. Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine,” President Biden said at a press conference on Wednesday when asked about the possibility of talks.

In internal deliberations, officials say Milley has sought to clarify that he is not urging a Ukrainian surrender, but rather that he believes now is the optimal time to end the war before it escalates. extends into spring or beyond, leading to more death and destruction without changing front lines, officials say.

Milley’s stance comes as the US military has dug deep into US weapons stockpiles to support the Ukrainians and is currently scouring the world for materials to support Ukraine as winter approaches – such only heaters and generators – which raised concerns about the duration of this war. sustained, officials said.

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Christi C. Elwood