Tuesday, July 23, 2024

World leaders join Ukraine’s major peace summit in Switzerland – but not Russia or China


Michael Buholzer/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrives in Switzerland on Friday ahead of a peace summit scheduled to be held over the weekend.


More than 100 countries and organizations have gathered at a major conference in Switzerland dedicated to setting the path toward peace between Ukraine and Russia, but there will be no delegation from Moscow.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky aims to use the meeting, being held at a resort near Lucerne, to rally support for the 10-point peace plan he first outlined in late 2022.

“Everything that will be agreed at the summit today will be part of the peacemaking process that we all need,” Zelensky said in a press conference with Swiss President Viola Amherd before the start of the conference. “I think we will witness history being made here.”

Most Western governments have sent representatives at a high level. US Vice President Kamala Harris attended and announced that Washington would provide Kiev with an aid package worth more than $1.5 billion to help the country rebuild its damaged infrastructure and meet humanitarian needs resulting from the conflict, according to a statement issued by the White House on Saturday. .

This war remains a miserable failure for Putin. “I am here in Switzerland to stand with Ukraine and leaders from around the world in support of a just and lasting peace,” Harris said.

Heads of state and government from several European countries, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom, as well as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, will also join.

However, China will not attend. She said that any such meeting would need the presence of Russia and Ukraine.

Zelensky’s plan includes demands for a cessation of hostilities, the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory, and the restoration of Ukraine’s pre-war borders with Russia.

It also calls for the establishment of a special court to try Russian war crimes.

He added: “Ukraine never wanted this war. It is a criminal and completely unjustified aggression on the part of Russia. The only person who wanted this was Putin,” Zelensky said.

Russia has shown little interest in agreeing to these terms and has shown no sign of compromise when it comes to regional issues.

On Friday, the day before the start of the summit. Russian President Vladimir Putin reaffirmed the Kremlin’s peace plan, which Ukraine is unlikely to ever agree to.

The proposal calls for the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from four southern and eastern regions of Ukrainian territory that Moscow said it would annex in violation of international law, and demands that Kiev abandon its efforts to join. NATO.

Although Russian forces have made modest gains in two of the regions – Donetsk and Luhansk – in recent months, they are far from occupying all four regions, which include Kherson and Zaporizhia.

Putin said later in the day that nearly 700,000 Russian troops were fighting in Ukraine, up from the 617,000 he announced during a year-end news conference in 2023.

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Zelensky responded in an interview with Italian television, “The fact that Putin said to give them part of our occupied and unoccupied territories speaks about several regions in our country, and it will stop (there), and there will not be a frozen conflict.” “.

“The messages are the same as Hitler’s,” Zelensky said.

He added: “Putin realizes that there will be a peace summit. That most of the world stands on the side of Ukraine, on the side of life.” Zelensky added: “On the eve of the summit, amid the sirens of air raids, the killing of people and the missile attacks, he seems to be talking about some kind of ultimatum.”



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