The White House hailed Ukraine’s retaking of Kherson from Russian forces as an “amazing triumph” on Saturday.
Talking to reporters while on his way to the ASEAN summit in Cambodia, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said, “It does look as though the Ukrainians have just won an extraordinary victory where the one regional capital that Russia had seized in this war is now back under a Ukrainian flag — and that is quite a remarkable thing.”
Sullivan also claimed that the Russian withdrawal will have “broader strategic implications” and that it will diminish the longer-term threat that it poses to Odesa and other southern Ukrainian cities.
“It’s a big moment and it’s due to the incredible tenacity and skill of the Ukrainians, backed by the relentless and united support of the United States and our allies,” said Sullivan.
When asked about rumors that the Biden administration had started urging President Volodymyr Zelensky to think about negotiations with Moscow, Sullivan said that it is Russia, not Ukraine, that must decide whether or not to participate in negotiations.
“This whole notion, I think, in the Western press of ‘when’s Ukraine going to negotiate?’ misses the underlying fundamentals,” Sullivan said adding “Ultimately, at a 30,000-foot level, Ukraine is the party of peace in this conflict and Russia is the party of war. Russia invaded Ukraine. If Russia chose to stop fighting in Ukraine and left, it would be the end of the war. If Ukraine chose to stop fighting and give up, it would be the end of Ukraine.”
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