Four Ukrainian army soldiers of the 22nd Mechanized Brigade training with a tank in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on October 29, 2023.
- Western officials have suggested Ukraine consider peace negotiations with Russia, a report says.
- US officials fear that Ukraine is running out of troops, while Russia seems to have an endless supply.
- They are also concerned about continuing to send aid, especially as focus shifts to the Israel-Hamas war.
Western officials have begun broaching the topic of holding peace negotiations with Russia with the Ukrainian government, a report says.
The conversations have included broadly considering what Ukraine might need to give up to secure a deal, one current senior US official and one former senior US official familiar with the discussions told NBC News.
These discussions have begun because of growing fears among US and European officials that the war has reached a stalemate and that it will be won by whoever can hold out the longest, the officials told the outlet.
Ukraine's long-anticipated counteroffensive began five months ago and has achieved negligible gains.
Western officials are concerned about keeping up the supply of aid to Ukraine, with the Biden administration having spent $43.9 billion on security assistance, per the Pentagon.
Biden administration officials are also concerned that Ukraine is running out of forces as it struggles to recruit more troops for the fight.
Russia, meanwhile, which has a population over three times the size of Ukraine's, seems to have an endless supply of soldiers to send to the front line, the officials said.
The personnel shortages are a major concern of President Joe Biden, sources familiar with the matter told NBC.
"Manpower is at the top of the administration's concerns right now," one source said.
While the US and allies can provide Ukraine with weapons, "if they don't have competent forces to use them, it doesn't do a lot of good," they said.
While neither Russia nor Ukraine confirm the numbers of their casualties, Western estimates have suggested Russia has had around 300,000 soldiers killed or wounded, while Ukraine has had around 200,000 killed or wounded.
On Saturday, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denied he was being pressured to consider peace talks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin.
Today, no one is putting pressure, not one of the leaders of the EU or the United States. For us now to sit down with Russia and talk and give it something - this will not happen," he told a joint news conference with the European Commission head, Ursula von der Leyen, in Kyiv.
Focus shifts away from Ukraine toward the Israel-Hamas war
The IDF fires artillery shells into Gaza on October 11 as fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas militants continues.
The emerging discussions over Ukraine also reflect shifting political tides in the West, as officials are concerned that public focus has shifted toward the Israel-Hamas war, which could make it more difficult to secure aid for Kyiv, the officials said.
A US official told NBC that the administration has about $5 billion left to send to Ukraine.
According to US officials, there have been private conversations about Ukraine likely only having until the end of the year before needing to begin a discussion about peace negotiations.
"Any decisions about negotiations are up to Ukraine," Adrienne Watson, spokesperson for the National Security Council, said in a statement, per NBC. "We are focused on continuing to stand strongly in support of Ukraine as they defend their freedom and independence against Russian aggression."
It is not clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin would even be willing to negotiate with Ukraine.
The Russian president might be hoping to "wait out the West" and hope support for Ukraine wanes, officials told the outlet.
US officials have also previously expressed concerns that Putin is hoping for Donald Trump or another Republican to win the 2024 election and cut support for Ukraine.
Sign up for notifications from Insider! Stay up to date with what you want to know.
Subscribe to push notifications