Blinken hopes Ukraine offensive a ‘success’ to force Putin to talk

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced hope Monday that a successful offensive by Ukraine would force Russian President Vladimir Putin into talks about ending its invasion.

Speaking alongside his Italian counterpart, Blinken said the United States was “confident that they will continue to have success” after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy indicated that a long-discussed offensive was underway.

“Success in the counteroffensive would do two things — it would strengthen its position at any negotiating table that emerges, and it may have the effect as well of actually causing Putin to finally focus on negotiating an end to the war that he started,” Blinken said.

“In that sense, it can actually bring peace closer, not put it further away,” Blinken told a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani.

Blinken said that the offensive showed the need to “maximize our support to Ukraine now, so it can have success on the battlefield.”

Russia has publicly spoken of support for negotiations, with China leading international calls for mediation.

The United States has been skeptical of such efforts, seeing Russia as not serious about negotiations and only interested in vindicating its territorial gains.

Peace needs to be “just and durable,” Blinken said.

“By durable we mean a peace that doesn’t simply leave things in a place where Russia can rest, rearm and reattack six months later, a year later, two years later,” he said.

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