Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

Two of Donald Trump’s key advisers have proposed a strategy to end the conflict in Ukraine if he wins the presidential election.

The plan involves pressuring Ukraine to enter peace talks by threatening to withhold further U.S. military aid, while simultaneously warning Russia that refusal to negotiate would lead to increased U.S. support for Ukraine.

This was detailed by retired Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg, a national security adviser to Trump, in a recent interview.

Kellogg and Fred Fleitz, both of whom were chiefs of staff for Trump’s National Security Council during his previous term, have outlined a plan where a ceasefire would be based on the existing front lines. They have shared this proposal with Trump, who reportedly responded positively.

Fleitz noted that while Trump did not explicitly agree to the plan, they were encouraged by his feedback. Trump’s spokesperson, Steven Cheung, emphasized that only statements from Trump or his authorized campaign members should be considered official.

The strategy from Kellogg and Fleitz, which is the most comprehensive one from Trump’s associates to date, would represent a significant shift in the U.S. approach to the Ukraine conflict. It is expected to face opposition from European allies and within Trump’s Republican Party.

The Kremlin has indicated that any peace plan from a potential Trump administration must reflect the current realities on the ground, with spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stating that President Vladimir Putin remains open to negotiations.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry has not commented on the proposed plan. The plan’s key elements are detailed in a public research paper by the “America First Policy Institute,” a Trump-aligned think tank where both Kellogg and Fleitz are leaders.

The proposal includes the U.S. urging Ukraine to negotiate by threatening to cut off support and warning Russia of increased aid to Ukraine if it refuses to come to the table. The plan also suggests delaying Ukraine’s NATO membership as an incentive for Russia.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the conflict has seen heavy casualties and little change in front lines until recent Russian advances.

Fleitz mentioned that while Ukraine wouldn’t have to formally concede territory, it’s unlikely they would regain full control soon. Kellogg and Fleitz argue that a durable peace would require additional security assurances for Ukraine, possibly involving substantial military aid.

Trump has frequently stated that ending the Russia-Ukraine war swiftly would be a priority in a second term, with his spokesperson claiming the conflict wouldn’t have happened if Trump were president.

The Biden campaign countered, accusing Trump of being too lenient on Putin and neglecting democratic principles.

There is skepticism within some Republican circles regarding further aid to Ukraine, with the U.S. having already spent over $70 billion on military support.

Some analysts fear the Kellogg-Fleitz plan might favor Russia, as it could lead to Ukraine ceding significant territory.

Trump has signaled a reluctance to commit U.S. troops or support Ukraine’s NATO membership, and he has indicated a willingness to reduce aid to Kyiv if elected.

In contrast, President Biden has been a strong advocate for continued support to Ukraine and backs its eventual NATO membership, recently signing a 10-year bilateral security agreement with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.