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One Day After Russian Diplomatic Visit to Washington, New York Times Reports on Russia's Willingness To Negotiate Ukraine Peace

A Russian Il-96 like the one that landed at Dulles Airport on Dec. 20. CC/Md Shaifuzzaman Ayon

Early in the morning on Dec. 20, a Russian Special Flight Squadron plane landed at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., where it remained for more than 55 hours, before departing on Dec. 22.

While there has been no public acknowledgment of who was on the plane or the purpose of the high-level visit, the publication of a New York Times article the following day, Dec. 23., may provide some insight.

The Times article claims that despite supposedly falling far short of his military goals, Russian President Putin is willing to negotiate a ceasefire and political resolution of the conflict in Ukraine. The article says the failure of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, flagging support among NATO nations, and the urgency of the Gaza situation are, combined, “creating an opportune moment for a deal.”

As the Times puts it, “Each side has insisted that it was willing to negotiate a peace—but only on terms the other calls unacceptable.”

The Times is forced to address past efforts at negotiation, and describes the spring 2022 efforts at a peace deal as follows: “Mr. Putin first explored peace talks in the early weeks of the war, but they fell apart after Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine came to light.” This ridiculous interpretation ignores Anglo-American pressure in such forms as the April visit by the unwholesome Boris Johnson to Kiev to demand Ukraine not accept any deal. It also relies on the alleged Bucha massacres, reporting on which followed the formula of claims made by the Syrian “White Helmets”—of purported atrocities used to spike peace and negotiations.

Although the article attempts to console readers by publishing what they claim is a quotation from a Russian military official, “People want to tell [Putin] only good news, and there’s not much of that,” it also quotes Putin in June on his accurate expectations for the Ukrainian “counteroffensive”: “I think the armed forces of Ukraine have no chance.”

At present, the paper claims that “U.S. officials say the United States has not and will not negotiate on behalf of Ukraine.” What happened in spring 2022? And what was flight RSD808 doing in Washington for more than two days?

Kit Klarenberg had notably pointed out the presence of the Russian plane.