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US can persuade Kiev to seize diplomatic opportunity, experts say

According to the experts, arms transfers to Kiev are key to setting the stage

WASHINGTON, July 31. /TASS/. The United States, its allies and partners can persuade Ukraine to search for a diplomatic solution to the conflict, Steven Simon and Johnatan Stevenson, who earlier served on the US National Security Council staff, said in a National Interest article.

According to the experts, "arms transfers [to Kiev] are key to setting the stage." "The United States and NATO should make it clear to Ukraine that if there is a diplomatic opportunity, they expect Kiev to take it and could turn off the tap if it doesn’t," Simon and Stevenson stressed. "To Russia, the message would be to seize such an opportunity, or the Ukrainians will be getting a lot more weaponry," they added.

"The United States, together with its European partners, should also do what it can to foster diplomatic opportunities, the article says. According to the analysts, "a ceasefire and separation of forces should be a priority for the United States and its allies." "The United States has the tools and experience to make it happen," they added. In their view, "Western diplomatic entrepreneurship might involve proposals of limiting Ukrainian and Russian forces and weapons within mutually determined demilitarized zones."

Simon and Stevenson believe that "at this stage, there is a rough consensus that the war will likely end through a negotiated settlement" that will be a variation of the 2015 Minsk accords.

Russia and Ukraine engaged in talks on February 28. Several meetings took place in Belarus, then the parties continued negotiations via video conference. An in-person round of talks was held in Istanbul in late March. Russian President Vladimir Putin stated in April that Kiev had departed from agreements reached in Turkey, bringing the process to an impasse. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said later that Russia had handed a well-formulated draft document on agreements to Ukraine and was waiting for a response. Moscow also stressed that the negotiations had been suspended on Kiev’s initiative.

On February 24, Putin announced a special military operation based on a request from the heads of the Donbass republics. In response, the West imposed major sanctions on Russia. In addition, Western countries started to provide weapons and military equipment to Kiev, whose total value is currently estimated at billions of dollars.