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Biden Is Plotting a Deal with Moscow over Ukraine - The Gatestone Institute - 26.07.23

By Con Coughlin


One of the main reasons NATO is proving to be so reluctant to provide Ukraine with a clear timeframe for membership is the stiff opposition the proposal has received from the Biden administration.


In public, US President Joe Biden is keen to give the impression that he is fully committed to backing Ukraine's battle for survival. But it is a different story behind-the-scenes, where Biden and his senior officials are more interested in ending the war in good time for next year's US presidential election contest.


Consequently, rather than upsetting the Kremlin by openly backing Ukraine's NATO membership bid, the Biden administration's real objective is to explore possible options for ending hostilities this year.


Prior to the summit, US President Joe Biden made his opposition to the proposal perfectly clear, declaring that he did not believe Ukraine was "ready for membership in NATO", and pointing out that there was no unanimity within the alliance "about whether or not to bring Ukraine into the NATO family now, at this moment, in the middle of the war."


Biden's obsession with ending the conflict helps to explain the recent initiative undertaken by a delegation of high-ranking US foreign policy experts and former national security officials to hold secret talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in New York in April.


The aim of the meeting was to lay the groundwork for negotiations to end the war in Ukraine. Among the subjects discussed were some of the thorniest issues of the conflict, such as the fate of Russian-occupied territory such as Crimea that Ukrainian forces have not been able to liberate.


That such a high level delegation has been authorised by the White House to open communications channels is the clearest indication yet that the White House wants a negotiated end to the conflict. It also helps to explain why the Biden administration, together with prominent European allies such as Germany and France, have been so reluctant to publicly back Ukraine's NATO membership bid.


One of the reasons Zelensky was so keen to secure a firm commitment from NATO leaders in Vilnius was because, if Ukraine were given cast iron guarantees that it could join the alliance, it would be impossible to make the issue of Ukrainian membership of NATO a bargaining chip in future negotiations with Russia.


By denying Kyiv this privilege, the Biden administration is keeping its options open, raising the possibility that the White House could be prepared to sacrifice Ukraine's hopes of joining the alliance in return for securing a deal with Moscow.

Such a deal would be nothing short of a sell-out of the Ukrainian people, and their heroic fight to protect their country from Russian aggression.


One of the reasons Zelensky was so keen to secure a firm commitment from NATO leaders in Vilnius was because, if Ukraine were given cast iron guarantees that it could join the alliance, it would be impossible to make the issue of Ukrainian membership of NATO a bargaining chip in future negotiations with Russia.


By denying Kyiv this privilege, the Biden administration is keeping its options open, raising the possibility that the White House could be prepared to sacrifice Ukraine's hopes of joining the alliance in return for securing a deal with Moscow.


Such a deal would be nothing short of a sell-out of the Ukrainian people, and their heroic fight to protect their country from Russian aggression.



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Biden Is Plotting a Deal with Moscow over Ukraine- by Con Coughlin for The Gatestone Insti
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Con Coughlin is the Telegraph's Defence and Foreign Affairs Editor and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.


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