Backstage diplomacy. A group of former top US national security officials held secret talks with Russian figures close to the Kremlin – and in at least one case Moscow’s diplomatic chief – to lay the groundwork for possible talks to end the war. in Ukraine, As NBC News reported this Thursday.
A US television network news outlet, citing half a dozen sources familiar with the talks, reports that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with members of the group for several hours in New York in April. On the agenda for that meeting “were some of the most pressing issues of the war in Ukraine, such as the fate of Russian-controlled territory that Ukraine may never be able to liberate, and the search for an unacceptable diplomatic exit that might be tenable. Both sides,” says NBC News.
According to the same source, former diplomat and former president Richard Huss was sitting with Lavrov. analytical center Council on Foreign Relations, as well as Charles Kupchan and Thomas Graham, both experts from the same organization and with experience in the White House and the State Department.
In the article published in St foreign affairs Also in April Richard Huss and Charles Kupchan advocated that the US and its partners begin now to shape the diplomatic end to the initiative, which will begin later this year.
Two sources say participants in the meeting with Lavrov briefed the White House Security Council. One of the goals of the talks, which Joe Biden’s administration has been aware of, is to open up communication channels with Russia as much as possible and to explore where the scope of future negotiations and diplomacy to end the war in Ukraine might lie.
However, the US network notes that it is not clear how often these conversations took place behind closed doors, nor whether they are part of a single and organized effort.
On the Russian side, in addition to Lavrov, academicians, important leaders analytical center or to research institutes and other persons in the field of Russian foreign policy, whose names are not known. On the US side, according to the same source, former members of the Pentagon were involved, including former US Secretary of Defense Mary Beth Long, and at least one person traveled to Russia for war-related talks.
Conversations after the counterattack?
Peace talks between Kiev and Moscow broke down in March last year, and talks are currently on hold, with both sides expressing a willingness to continue fighting. The Ukrainian authorities claim that the fate of their country cannot be decided without them. There have been few official and public diplomatic contacts between the US and Russian governments over Ukraine.
Ukraine’s counteroffensive to recapture territory seized by Russian forces, mostly in the country’s southeast, has seen growing signs of peace talks following the end of the military operation, some voices have indicated. Autumn. Experts predict that the counteroffensive could last for months.
According to reported last week The Washington Post, CIA Director William Burns made a secret trip to Kiev last month and gave Ukrainian authorities the confidence to recapture significant swaths of territory by the fall, moving artillery and missile systems along the border with controlled Crimea to allow Russia to advance further into eastern Ukraine and beyond. Start of negotiations with Moscow.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has suggested that peace talks on Ukraine could begin in the fall, Russian state news agency Tass reported Thursday. “The main thing is to stop this conflict. (…) and [las negociaciones] September is also unlikely. But there are many indications that the situation should change in the autumn and we will start talking at the negotiating table. Maybe not in September, later, but in autumn,” Lukashenko told the press.
French President Emmanuel Macron Last month, he assured that Ukraine’s counterattack “It will take place in days, months” and he said he hoped to “win as much as possible” so that “then we can start the negotiation phase under the right conditions”.
Source: El Diario