Leaked Assessment: US Foresees No 2023 Ukraine Peace Talks

As evidenced by a leaked Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report, the U.S. intelligence community anticipates no peace talks between Russia and Ukraine until at least 2024. This week, the Washington Post brought the assessment to light, citing the classified document’s statement that “Negotiations to end the conflict are unlikely during 2023 in all considered scenarios.”

Despite the Ukrainian side suffering heavy losses, the Biden administration has not pursued negotiation efforts between the conflicting parties. As a result, accusations have arisen that the administration is instead undermining the possibility of talks in the near future and promoting a military resolution alongside the U.K.

The DIA analysis, grounded in evaluating each side’s troop counts, weaponry, and equipment, may embolden war critics. They argue that major powers like the United States and China should pressure Kyiv and Moscow to reach an agreement instead of prolonging a conflict that has displaced millions and resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties.

The Washington Post also notes that the DIA document predicts further hardships and increased casualties before any prospects of peace arise. In addition, a stalemate might lead Ukraine to enact “full mobilization” of its eligible population, sending more individuals to the front lines. The document also predicts that Ukraine will likely intensify strikes on Russian territory, potentially compelling Putin to escalate the conflict or causing China to offer lethal support to Russia.

China has not provided evidence of military aid to Russia since the invasion began. Furthermore, President Xi’s ’12-point peace plan’ has yet to gain traction, despite President Zelensky’s initial openness to collaborate with China to pave a path toward negotiations.
The Pentagon leaks have continued to make headlines, despite National Security Council (NSC) spokesman John Kirby urging against media coverage. Outlets such as The Hill have published “7 Big Revelations So Far” from the leaked classified reports.

As reported by The Washington Post, a separate leak indicates that the U.S. believes it’s improbable that Ukraine will regain any substantial territory in its predicted counteroffensive. This view contrasts starkly with the Biden administration’s public stance. Both documents could strengthen the argument that the U.S. should advocate for negotiations.

When questioned about the DIA assessment, a U.S. official informed The Washington Post that the decision to engage in talks with Russia ultimately rests with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, signifying Washington’s disinterest in encouraging peace talks. The Biden administration has consistently dissuaded peace talks throughout the war, even dismissing Beijing as a potential mediator.

With the White House rejecting the idea of a ceasefire or a pause in hostilities before Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Moscow visit, Secretary of State Antony Blinken cautioned the world not to be deceived by any Chinese calls for peace.

The DIA document predicts that Ukraine’s “most likely scenario” involves only “marginal” battlefield gains for either side. A war of attrition could increase criticism of Ukraine’s approach to combating Russia and prompt leadership changes. The analysis also suggests that a protracted conflict might drive Ukraine to strike more targets within Russia. Another leaked document indicates Zelensky’s willingness to utilize long-range American weapons on Russian territory if provided by Washington.