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A potential peace is being negotiated in Ukraine by military leaders

Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting with General Valery Gerasimov at the headquarters of the Russian armed forces in Rostov-on-Don in October. / Photo by Kremlin Press Office/Anadolu via Getty Images.

It’s been a rough couple of months for President Joe Biden and his feckless foreign policy team. Israel is going its own way in its war against Hamas, with renewed bombing in Gaza, and the American public is bitterly divided, all of which is reflected in polls that continue to be unfavorable to the White House.

Meanwhile, the president and his foreign policy aides have also been left on the outside as serious peace talks between Russia and Ukraine have rapidly gained momentum.

“Everyone in Europe is talking about this”—the peace talks—an American businessman who spent years dealing with high-level Ukrainian diplomatic and military issues in the government told me earlier this week. “But there are lots of questions between a ceasefire and a settlement.” The veteran journalist Anataol Lieven wrote this week that the battlefield situation in Ukraine and thus “a ceasefire and negotiations for a peace settlement are becoming more and more necessary for Ukraine.” He said that it was “exceptionally difficult” for the Ukrainian government headed by Volodymyr Zelensky to agree to talks, given its repeated refusal to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The driving force of those talks has not been Washington or Moscow, or Biden or Putin, but instead the two high-ranking generals who run the war, Valery Gerasimov of Russia and Valery Zaluzhny of Ukraine.


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