July 19, 2024

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Peace Summit in Ukraine: Leaders meet in Switzerland and Russia is absent

Peace Summit in Ukraine: Leaders meet in Switzerland and Russia is absent

AUBURGEN, Switzerland (AP) — Dozens of world leaders gathered at a Swiss resort on Saturday to discuss how to bring peace to war-torn Ukraine, though any hopes for a real breakthrough were dampened by Russia’s absence.

After more than two years of war, the fighters Stay apart As it has always been, with Kiev adhering to its demands that Russia leave all the Ukrainian territories it seized, Moscow continues its crushing offensive that has already taken control of large areas of eastern and southern Ukraine.

Despite Russia’s absence from the conference In the resort of Bürgenstock Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, overlooking Lake Lucerne, noted that one of the criteria for the event’s success was “to bring back to the world the idea that joint efforts can stop war and establish a just peace.”

Attendees faced a difficult balancing act, with many criticizing Russia for violating international law while hedging their positions to leave the door open for Moscow to join future peace talks that could one day end the conflict.

“There are representatives from Latin America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, North America and religious leaders,” Zelensky said. “Now, there is no Russia here. Why? Because if Russia was interested in peace, there would be no war.”

“We must decide together what a just peace for the world means and how it can be achieved in a truly lasting way,” he said. He added: “At the first peace summit, we must determine how to achieve just peace, so that at the second summit we can reach a real end to the war.”

About half of the 100 delegations were headed by heads of state and government. Analysts said the turnout would be a key indicator of the extent of influence Ukraine and its powerful Western backers have on the broader international community.

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On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to cast doubt on the Swiss-Ukrainian initiative to hold the conference. Countries such as India, Turkey and Saudi Arabia that have maintained, sometimes lucrative, relations with Moscow – unlike Western powers that have imposed sanctions on Russia over the war – were also present.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told the conference that credible peace talks would need Russia’s participation and require a “difficult settlement.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan acknowledged the lack of trust between Russia and Ukraine, saying: “Each side considers the other’s steps (in the floating proposals) to be an extension of broader war efforts.”

He added: “Your Excellencies, I must also point out that this summit could have been more focused on results if the other party to the conflict – Russia – had been present in the hall.”

US Vice President Kamala Harrisrepresenting the United States while President Joe Biden attended a fundraising campaign in California Full American support For Ukraine announced $1.5 billion in new US aid For a range of projects such as energy infrastructure and civil security.

China, Who supports Russia, joined dozens of countries that participated in the event. Beijing said that any peace process would require the participation of Russia and Ukraine and raised the issue Her own ideas for peace.

In a separate initiative last month, China and Brazil agreed to six “joint understandings” in order to reach a political settlement to the Ukrainian crisis, and asked other countries to play a role in promoting peace talks that would be held “at the appropriate time” with both Russia and Brazil. Ukraine concerned.

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The standoff over Ukraine is rooted in Europe’s security — the continent’s bloodiest conflict since World War II — and in the geopolitics of major powers.

U.S. intelligence officials say China has increased sales to Russia of machine tools, microelectronics and other technology that Moscow uses to produce missiles, tanks, planes and other weapons to fuel its war effort.

“What is clear is that China is not here, and I assume they are not here because Putin asked them not to come and they forced Putin,” said Jake Sullivan, Biden’s senior foreign policy adviser. “And I think that says something about China’s position regarding Russia’s war in Ukraine. I think countries should pay attention to that.”

Both Harris and Sullivan acknowledged that not all participants were on the same page about eventually reaching a peace settlement.

Russian forces control nearly a quarter of Ukraine made territorial gains In recent months. When talk of a peace summit hosted by Switzerland began last summer, Ukrainian forces had recently retaken large areas of territory, especially near the southern city of Kherson and the northern city of Kharkiv.

The conference focuses on three agenda items – seen as the least controversial parts of Zelensky’s 10-point peace “formula”: nuclear safety, including at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhya power plant; Possible prisoner-of-war exchange; and global food security. The war disrupted shipments of food and fertilizer across the Black Sea.

Zelensky’s plan also called for the withdrawal of Russian forces from occupied Ukrainian territories, a cessation of hostilities and the restoration of Ukraine’s original borders with Russia, including Russia’s withdrawal from the occupied Crimean Peninsula. With Ukraine on the defensive these days, these hopes seem increasingly distant.

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Putin wants any peace deal to be based on a draft agreement negotiated in the early stages of the war that includes provisions on Ukraine’s neutral status and restrictions on its armed forces, while delaying talks on Russian-occupied territories. Ukraine’s push to join NATO over the years has angered Moscow.

He wants Ukraine to abandon its attempt to join NATO and withdraw its forces from areas illegally annexed by Russia in 2022.

“The situation on the battlefield has changed dramatically,” said Alexander Gabuev, director of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center, noting that although Russia “cannot quickly achieve its maximum goals through military means,” it is gaining momentum on the battlefield.

While world leaders discussed the path to peace in Switzerland, the battlefield was continuing in Ukraine, where bombing killed at least three civilians and wounded 15 others on Friday and Saturday night, regional officials said.

Meanwhile, Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Russia’s southern Belgorod region, blamed Ukraine in a social media post for the bombing that hit a five-story apartment building in the town of Shchebykino on Friday, killing five people. There was no immediate comment from Kyiv.

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Ken Moritsugu in Beijing and Joanna Kozlowska in London contributed to this report.