US could halt weapons deliveries if Ukraine refuses peace talks

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The United States could threaten to halt weapons deliveries to Ukraine if it refuses peace talks, under a plan presented to Donald Trump by two of his former Pentagon advisers.

Russia would be warned separately that any refusal to enter negotiations would result in increased military support for Kyiv. A ceasefire would be arranged based on the front lines at the time talks begin.

The plan was developed by retired Lt Gen Keith Kellogg and Fred Fleitz, both of whom served as chiefs of staff on the former president’s national security council.

“We tell the Ukrainians: ‘You’ve got to come to the table, and if you don’t come to the table, support from the United States will dry up,’” Lt Gen Kellogg said. “And you tell Putin: ‘He’s got to come to the table, and if you don’t come to the table, then we’ll give the Ukrainians everything they need to kill you in the field.’”

To encourage Russian President Vladimir Putin to negotiate, the US would agree to suspend the possibility of Ukrainian membership in the NATO military alliance for an extended period.

The plan was first presented in a paper by the America First Policy Institute, a pro-Trump think tank where the two former advisers hold senior roles. Although it does not indicate Trump’s policy on Ukraine, the former president has frequently boasted that he could end the war in 24 hours if re-elected. “I’m not claiming he agreed with it or agreed with every word of it, but we were pleased to get the feedback we did,” Mr Fleitz said of their approach to Trump.

Trump’s former advisers stated that for his pledge to be successful, peace talks would have to quickly begin after the November 5 presidential election. However, the plan would likely drive a wedge between Washington and its European allies, most of whom have signed up to a Ukrainian peace plan that stresses talks can only begin after Russian forces withdraw from the war-torn country.

The proposal would also result in Ukraine losing control of vast swathes of its territory currently occupied by Moscow’s troops. Russia still occupies about 18 per cent of Ukraine across five regions. Mr Fleitz claimed that these territories wouldn’t be formally ceded to Russia but would mean that any effective control would have to be relinquished by Kyiv.

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