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https://www.businessinsider.com/israel-bennett-walks-back-claim-west-blocked-ukraine-russia-peace-deal-2023-2

A former Israeli prime minister is walking back his suggestion that the United States may have "blocked" an agreement last year to end the war in Ukraine, a claim that had been amplified by Russian state media and Kremlin sympathizers in the West.

What are the means the United States can use to force Ukraine to not negotiate peace with Russia? I am not asking if the above is true, but I am wondering whether the U.S. has any leverage on Ukraine and have enough persuasive power to have any say on whether Ukraine can accept a peace agreement with Russia.

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  • Voting to close as this as duplicate because you've already got a "yes" to this question to a more nebulous one you asked. (Well, the title of that one was differently focused, but but the body was pretty wide.) See Allure's answer there. Feb 18, 2023 at 21:22
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    Since all the money, or at least a very large part of money, to Ukraine coming from USA so they defenetly have financial leverage.
    – convert
    Feb 18, 2023 at 21:57
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    I'm not sure the edited question is that much different. What are the means? Cutting aid; also rather obviously stated in answers(s) to the linked Q. Feb 18, 2023 at 22:10
  • @Fizz the linked question asks about how the US can force Ukraine to make peace; this one asks about how the US can force Ukraine to make war.
    – Allure
    Feb 20, 2023 at 7:08
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    Hypothetically, the US could threaten to attack Ukraine or impose sanctions; it's very unlikely to do that, but it's theoretically possible. And indicated the problems with such a vague question.
    – Stuart F
    Feb 20, 2023 at 11:55

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Unless Ukraine wants to unconditionally surrender (in which case they can do it regardless of what the US says), for Ukraine to have a credible negotiating position means they need US/NATO arms support for the foreseeable future. In theory some of the Europeans might be able to support Ukraine despite the US, but in practice that seems pretty unlikely to me. And in any case, that would entail a weakened negotiating position for Ukraine anyway.

The question is also rather broad and so answers could be rather speculative, since there's a wide degree of what negotiating a peace means, depending on the proposed terms thereof. Insofar Russia has been publicly rather vague, except for the explicit annexations of those 4 oblasts/republics... Vaguer talk of de-Nazification also meaning de-Ukrainization (as seen on Russian TV) must not exactly inspire confidence for an Ukrainian leadership, in case Russia gets to dictate all the terms.

Also, Bennett pretty much disproved this theory that the US (alone) blocked the peace process. From your article:

In the interview, Bennett himself notes that it was not the US, France, or Germany that put an end to any peace talks. Rather, it was Russia slaughtering hundreds of civilians in a town outside the Ukrainian capital, a war crime discovered just about a month after the full-scale invasion began.

"The Bucha massacre, once that happened, I said: 'It's over,'" Bennett recalled.

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This is pretty straightforward. If Ukraine decides to negotiate peace with Russia, the US cannot stop them unless they invade Ukraine or somehow cause a regime change. As in the linked question, this is because Ukraine is a sovereign country that can (in theory) make their own decisions.

However, given that Ukraine is heavily in favor of continuing the war, it's reasonable to suppose that if continuing the war is the US goal, then the US does not need to force Ukraine to continue the war. Ukraine will do it on their own accord, as long as they have the means to do so.

Accordingly, the US can "force Ukraine to not negotiate peace" by providing them with weapons. It's not exactly the same (because the US isn't forcing Ukraine to do anything), but the result is the same - the war goes on.

About the quote in your question: the ultimate reason the war is continuing is that Ukraine and Russia's desired end states are incompatible. If there is peace negotiations (as opposed to an outright victory for one party), chances are both parties will have to compromise to reach a mutually acceptable end state. Ukraine can push for a more desirable end state if they have US support than if they don't. For example, if Ukraine can put "the US will agree not to expand NATO any further if you agree to ____" on the bargaining table, then they can reasonably demand something substantial in ____. If the US does not provide this kind of support, then because Ukraine can demand less, they might feel that continuing the war is their best option.

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