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Ukrainian Chairman Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian Chairman Vladimir Putin are far apart at the negotiating table, with both sides requesting concessions that are considered non-start-up by the other side, which could be to Putin’s advantage, experts tell Fox News.
Rebekah Koffler, a former US intelligence agent and author of “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America,” told Fox News Digital that Ukraine’s desire for a security deal with other countries as a component of ending the war is a requirement Russia does not will agree.
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“Putin will not go for it,” Koffler said, adding that her assessment is that Ukraine is also unwilling to give in to Putin’s reported demands that Ukraine renounce Crimea and the breakaway regions of Donbas.
Shortly after Koffler spoke with Fox News Digital, Zelenskyy acknowledged that it was not an option he would consider giving away Ukrainian territory to Russia.
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“We are not trading with our territory,” Zelenskyy said told Fox News’s Bret Baier via translator in an exclusive interview. “The issue of territorial integrity and sovereignty is out of the question.”
“The bottom line is that these positions are incompatible,” Koffler explained.
Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer, chairman of the London Center for Policy Research, agreed with Koffler’s assessment that both sides are asking for non-starters in the negotiations and told Fox News Digital that Putin will not accept Ukraine’s demand that a security agreement between major powers protect Ukraine in the future be implemented.
“I think you can see the Russians continuing to move things for another two weeks,” Shaffer said. “So I just do not think they are going to negotiate seriously until they have solidified what they are doing and they may well go back on the offensive at least once more before it’s all done until they are ready to really negotiate. . “
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In addition, Shaffer said he does not believe Zelenskyy will accept any demand from Putin to give away territory.
“I do not, “Shaffer said when asked if he predicts Ukraine will cede land to Russia.” This is what Ukraine depends on for its future prosperity. So it’s going to be really important for Ukraine, so no, I think it’s a non-starter for them too. “
Both Shaffer and Koffler told Fox News that the stalemate between the two sides benefits Putin, who is prepared and better equipped for a protracted conflict.
“This is going to be a long, protracted, ongoing, protracted conflict, and Putin can afford to do that,” Koffler said.
Shaffer told Fox News that Putin “absolutely” has the stomach for a protracted conflict.
“Putin has a lot of capacity left,” Shaffer said. “He’s going to move things around, so in any long-running conflict, I think the benefit goes to Putin lacking any support for the NATO enlargement to Zelenskyy.”
Fox News anchor Bret Baier spoke with Zelenskyy on Friday, giving after the interview his conviction that the Ukrainian leader is really worried that Russia is digging into a long battle.
“The fear is that Russia will try to dig in and have fortified positions,” Baier said. “That they just stay, and that he without the heavy weapons can not push them out effectively. That in the end, his biggest concern is that the West will forget Ukraine, and that they will turn the chapter, and that Russia will exploit it. “