Pressure on Putin begins ‘to have some effect,’ senior US official claims
The pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin is “beginning to have some effect,” as Moscow seems to be inclining towards “real serious negotiations,” US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Sunday.
Speaking to Fox News, Sherman said that the US has two main goals when it comes to the conflict in Ukraine. First is to support Kiev in every possible way and, as Sherman stressed, $1.2 billion in security assistance, allocated by the US, “is really helping Ukraine to resist.”
The second goal, as the deputy secretary of state emphasized, is “to put enormous pressure on Vladimir Putin” to make him “to get a ceasefire in the first instance, to get humanitarian corridors and to end this invasion.” In Washington’s opinion, Putin single-handedly decided to launch an “unjust, unprovoked war against a sovereign country” – and the US, Sherman said, “can’t let it stand.”
“That pressure is beginning to have some effect. We are seeing some signs of willingness to have real, serious negotiations. But I have to say… so far it appears that Vladimir Putin is intent on destroying Ukraine,” Sherman said.
Moscow and Kiev have expressed some optimism regarding the ongoing talks. A member of the Russian negotiating team, Leonid Slutsky, earlier on Sunday told RT Arabic that the “significant progress” he has observed in talks might soon lead the two sides in the conflict to sign an agreement. A day before, Ukrainian presidential aide Mikhail Podolyak said the two countries were approaching a compromise.
Moscow attacked Ukraine on February 24, following a seven-year standoff over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk Agreements, and Russia’s recent recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Russia wants Ukraine to officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two Donbass republics by force. Western countries have responded to Russia’s offensive by imposing unprecedented sanctions on Moscow.