Ukrainian Intelligence Official Contradicts Zelenskyy on Russia Talks

Ukraine's military intelligence deputy head, Major-General Vadym Skibitsky, suggests Ukraine will need to negotiate with Russia to end the war. Skibitsky's statement contradicts President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's stance, who has ruled out talks with Russia.

Nitish Verma
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Ukrainian Intelligence Official Contradicts Zelenskyy on Russia Talks

Ukrainian Intelligence Official Contradicts Zelenskyy on Russia Talks

Major-General Vadym Skibitsky, the deputy head of Ukraine's military intelligence directorate HUR, has stated in a recent interview with The Economist magazine that Ukraine will eventually need to enter into talks with Russia to end the ongoing war, which has lasted over two years. This statement contradicts the stance of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has not indicated a willingness to engage in talks with Russia.

Why this matters: The potential for negotiations between Ukraine and Russia could have significant implications for the ongoing conflict and the future of Eastern Europe. A peaceful resolution to the war could also have a positive impact on global geopolitics and economic stability.

In the interview, Skibitsky emphasized the reality that military victory alone may not be enough to end the conflict. "General Skibitsky says he sees no way for Ukraine to win the war on the battlefield alone," the article states. "Even if the country were able to push Russian troops back to its borders – an increasingly remote prospect – this would not end the war." His comments highlight the need for eventual negotiations to bring about a resolution.

Although no specific timeline was provided, the Ukrainian intelligence official expects that potentialnegotiationsmay take place in the second half of 2025. Skibitsky believes that both sides are currently fighting for the"most favorable position"before possible negotiations. He predicts Russia will face serious "headwinds" by early 2026 because of limitations in its military production capacity, despite recent increases.

Skibitsky's stance is echoed by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who expressed in an interview with Foreign Policy that "in the end, you cannot put the war to an end without both parties." However, Kuleba also emphasized Ukraine's sacrifices and rejected the idea that they should make concessions for peace. He stated, "I think one of the biggest successes of Russian propaganda, foreign policy propaganda is that they made people focus on what Ukraine has to concede, on what the compromises that Ukraine has to make. Why don't we discuss what Russia has to concede to end the war?"

President Zelenskyy has repeatedly ruled outtalkswith Russia, citing a decree issued in 2022 that deems negotiations"impossible"after Russia formally annexed four Ukrainian regions. Ukraine is planning a "peace summit" in Switzerland in June 2023, but Russia has not been invited as Moscow will not bargain in good faith is a concern. Russian President Vladimir Putin and other senior officials claim that Ukraine is blocking any attempt at a settlement.

Skibitsky warns that in the end, both sides may run out of weapons, but if nothing else changes, Ukraine will run out first. His comments suggest that Ukraine may need to reassess its strategy and considernegotiationswith Russia to bring an end to the conflict. The contradictory stances of President Zelenskyy and Major-General Skibitsky on talks with Russia highlight the complex challenges of the ongoing war and the need for a diplomatic solution.

The war in Ukraine, now in its third year, has brought the debate over the necessity of negotiations with Russia to end the conflict to the forefront. While President Zelenskyy maintains his stance against talks, Major-General Skibitsky's statement serves as a harsh wake-up call about the realities on the ground. "Such wars can only end with treaties,"Skibitsky says, suggesting that meaningful negotiations may begin in the second half of 2025 at the earliest.

Key Takeaways

  • Ukraine's military intelligence deputy head says talks with Russia are eventually needed to end the war.
  • Military victory alone may not be enough to end the conflict, negotiations are necessary.
  • Potential talks may take place in the second half of 2025, with Russia facing "headwinds" by 2026.
  • Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has ruled out talks with Russia, citing a 2022 decree.
  • Ukraine may need to reassess its strategy and consider negotiations to bring an end to the conflict.