On 18 November, the White House said that only Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy can decide to open peace talks with Russia, rejecting the notion that it was pressing Kyiv to negotiate, AFP reported according to France 24.
“We all agree that a diplomatic negotiated settlement is the next best thing to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin just pulling his troops out,” said White House national security spokesman John Kirby.
[quote]”We have also said that Zelenskyy gets to determine if and when he’s ready for negotiations and what those negotiations look like,” Kirby told reporters. “Nobody from the United States is pushing, prodding, or nudging him to the table.”[/quote]
“Those conversations aren’t happening because President Zelenskyy has made it clear that he’s not ready for that,” Kirby said. “And you can’t blame him,” he said of Zelenskyy, because Moscow itself has indicated it is not ready for talks.
The White House representative also confirmed that the US side continues to follow the “nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine” principle, according to UkrInform.
Previously, the Pentagon’s top general Mark Milley suggested that Kyiv could take advantage of its victories and open talks with Russia toward ending the war. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi said that the Ukrainian military will not accept any negotiations until Russia leaves all captured territories.