The elements that would bring an end to the war in Ukraine have been debated almost since the Russians launched their invasion Feb. 24. Henry Kissinger has some ideas, but Ukrainians are not going to like them, and Americans might not either.

The former secretary of state is urging Ukraine to concede its occupied territory and telling the West not to pursue a crushing defeat of Russia to facilitate an end to the conflict. Kissinger said during a video appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that taking an unyielding stance in peace talks with Russia could jeopardize European stability down the road.

“Negotiations need to begin in the next two months before it creates upheavals and tensions that will not be easily overcome. Ideally, the dividing line should be a return to the status quo ante,” said Kissinger, who turns 99 on Friday. “Pursuing the war beyond that point would not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the return of Ukrainian territory controlled by Russia – Crimea, illegally annexed in 2014, and the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk areas, under dispute since that same year – are a precondition for peace negotiations.

Ukrainians support that position overwhelmingly, according to a recent poll that shows 82% of them refuse to concede any land to end the war. Another survey, seeking to assess Americans’ opinions about the war, revealed continued support for helping Ukraine but not at the expense of the U.S. economy as inflation becomes a bigger worry.

Including a new $40 billion package, the U.S. has committed about $54 billion to aid Ukraine since the war started. Spending $54 billion for essentially a stalemate could prove unpopular with the electorate.

Latest developments:

►Denys Prokopenko, the top military commander who fought at the steel mill until last week to keep Ukrainian control of the southern port city of Mariupol, is alive in Russian-controlled territory, his wife said Tuesday after they had a brief phone conversation.