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Hal Brands

Ukraine’s Victories May Become a Problem for the US

Washington has been a big winner from Russia’s fiasco, but a lengthy stalemate could become a huge burden.



Photographer: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

Ukraine has notched another big victory in its war against Russian aggression: the liberation of the Kherson without a grueling urban battle. Yet that triumph was met with mixed messages from US President Joe Biden’s administration on a very sensitive subject: whether the Ukrainians should begin peace negotiations with Russia.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, argued that the Kyiv government should seek a settlement before the conflict becomes a stalemate like World War I. Other US officials pushed back, saying that Washington would never force Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to negotiate or make concessions. “Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine,” Biden pledged.