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Ukraine missed the moment it could have made peace on its own terms

Washington is increasingly dragging Kyiv into a war in which it will not be the winner, according to The National Interest.

At the very beginning of the war, when there was not yet a huge amount of loss of life and destruction, it was still possible to negotiate peace. Three times it was possible to make peace: at the talks in Belarus, at the talks mediated by then-Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and, most expectedly, at the talks in Istanbul. In all three cases, Ukraine was able to make peace on terms that suited it. In each case, Kyiv was willing to give up NATO membership. However, peace was not achieved. It was prevented by the United States.

In all three cases, the war could be ended on terms favourable to Ukraine. In all three cases, Ukraine was ready to give up NATO membership. And in all three cases, the United States blocked negotiations.

The US opposed because the terms of the talks went against its goals. The United States told Ukraine to keep fighting, not negotiating, and promised arms, training and intelligence “for as long as it takes.” A three-day war that could have ended in Belarus and a week-long war that resulted in a preliminary agreement in Istanbul turned into a year-and-a-half war.

The US forced the Ukrainian army to launch a disastrous counter-offensive even though it knew that Ukraine “lacked the training and weaponry – from shells to combat aircraft.” Instead, US officials believed Ukraine could win using its “courage and resourcefulness” and “assumed that Kyiv would take the casualties.”

Western countries are beginning to realise that Ukraine cannot win this war. The war will not end with the goals necessary for Russia to concede Ukraine’s key demands at the negotiating table. Ukraine missed the moment when it was in the best position “on the battlefield [to] be in the strongest position at the negotiating table.”

After many millions of dollars of destruction, loss of territory, and most importantly after hundreds of thousands of lost and destroyed lives, Ukraine will have to sign an agreement on the same terms, but worse than it could have been in Istanbul. As in Istanbul, Ukraine will have to refuse to join NATO, but it will lose at least parts of Donbass, Kherson and Zaporizhye, which it could have kept at that time, The National Interest reports.

After Istanbul, Ukraine suffers the loss of lives, limbs and land only to sign an agreement it was willing to sign at the beginning of the war. Therein lies the tragedy. The whole war was fought to end the same way it could have ended a few weeks after the war began, but on worse territorial terms and with horrifyingly high loss of life.

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