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U.S. and allies hold secret meeting with Ukraine on peace plan, Bloomberg

U.S. and allies hold secret meeting with Ukraine on peace plan, Bloomberg U.S. and allies held secret meeting with Ukraine on 'peace plan' (Getty Images)

Last month, a secret meeting took place between Ukraine, G7 countries, and a small group of Global South states to seek support for Ukrainian conditions for engaging in peaceful negotiations with Russia, according to Bloomberg.

The previously undisclosed national security advisers meeting occurred on December 16 in Saudi Arabia. It followed larger and more publicized gatherings aimed at resisting Russia's attempts to portray Ukraine and its allies as unwilling to negotiate an end to the war.

The secrecy was intended to make the participating countries feel more comfortable during the meeting. According to sources, the smaller format allowed for a more open discussion of the Ukrainian peace formula, plans for advancing the process, and principles for potential future interaction with Russia.

Bloomberg reports that in recent months, the efforts of allies have weakened. Over $100 billion in vital aid from the U.S. and the EU has stalled in the approval process in Washington and Brussels. The Ukrainian counteroffensive last year did not bring a significant breakthrough on the battlefield.

According to officials familiar with the meeting, there was no significant progress in the latest meeting in Riyadh. Ukraine and its G7 allies continued to resist calls from South countries to engage directly with Russia.

While high-ranking officials from India, Saudi Arabia, and Turkiye participated in the December meeting in Riyadh, other major Global South countries, including China, Brazil, and the UAE, did not send their representatives.

Sources stated that many participating countries view Beijing as a key influencer on Moscow due to the close ties between the two nations. Brazil, which currently heads the G20, submitted a written statement.

The report notes that Kyiv and its G7 allies affirmed their belief that a just peace must respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. They also stated that the goals of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin have not changed, and he has shown no serious willingness to engage in substantive negotiations and has not adhered to previous agreements.

The allies indicated their commitment to continue supporting Ukraine, and the EU and the U.S. expressed confidence that aid packages would be coordinated.

In turn, Russia condemned the efforts of allies during the secret meeting to which it was not invited.

Negotiations with Russia

In December, The New York Times reported that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin was sending signals to the West expressing a desire to freeze the war against Ukraine and initiate negotiations.

The media mentioned that, according to two Kremlin insiders and American and international officials, Putin proposed freezing hostilities along current lines. Putin also sent similar signals a year earlier in the fall of 2022.

According to Andrii Yusov, a representative of the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine, Moscow does want a quick end to the war, despite Russian propaganda claims. Ukraine also desires this but on its terms and following international law.

According to analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the Kremlin may be using these signals to the West to allegedly be willing to put the war against Ukraine on pause in an attempt to reduce defensive aid from partner countries. Experts reminded that similar manipulations by Russian dictator Putin have occurred before, especially regarding negotiations.