The Biden administration denied a report that CIA Director William Burns offered a peace deal to Ukraine and Russia that would have given a fifth of Ukraine's territory to the invading Russians, Newsweek reported.
The deal was supposedly the brainchild of President Joe Biden, according to the Swiss-German newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ).
The report is "not accurate," Sean Davitt, deputy spokesperson at the White House's National Security Council, told Newsweek, adding that the CIA would give the same response.
According to NZZ's report Thursday, which cited high-ranking German politicians, Burns presented a plan to Kyiv and Moscow in mid-January that would end the war, now at 11 months.
Biden's plan included giving Russia "around 20% of Ukraine's territory," NZZ reported. That is about the size of the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine that Russia had already been skirmishing for since its 2014 takeover of the Crimean peninsula.
An official with the CIA called the NZZ report of a secret trip in January to Moscow "completely false." The official did not deny, however, that a peace plan was put forth by Burns on behalf of the administration.
Burns traveled secretly in January to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, The Washington Post reported at the time.
Both countries reportedly turned the proposal down — Ukraine "because they are not willing to have their territory divided" with Russian officials saying they "will win the war in the long run anyway," according to NZZ.
Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russian deputy permanent representative to the U.N., told Newsweek that the report was "interesting," but that he couldn't "comment [on] speculation."
The German politicians who purportedly spoke to NZZ said Biden offered the plan because he sought to avoid a drawn-out war, the newspaper said.
After Ukraine and Russia rejected the plan, the White House promised to give Abrams tanks to Kyiv, according to NZZ. On Jan. 31, the administration announced it was sending up to 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, and Germany said it would provide 14 Leopard 2A6 tanks.
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