World leaders join key Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland – but not Russia or China

Michael Buholzer/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Switzerland on Friday ahead of a weekend peace summit.


More than 100 countries and organizations gathered for a major conference in Switzerland dedicated to paving the way for peace between Ukraine and Russia, but there were no representatives from Moscow.

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

Addressing the conference on Saturday, Zelensky said that a proposal to end the war would be submitted to Russia, and once it was agreed to by other participating countries, there would be a second peace summit where “we can fix the real end. The war.”

“The peace formula is inclusive, and we’re happy to hear and act on all proposals, all ideas about what peace really needs and what’s important to you,” Zelensky said.

“I urge you to be as active as possible and I am proud of all the regions of the world, all the continents are now represented at the Peace Summit,” he added.

Most Western governments have sent representatives at the highest level. US Vice President Kamala Harris attended and announced that Washington would provide an aid package of more than $1.5 billion to Kyiv to help rebuild its damaged infrastructure and address humanitarian needs stemming from the conflict. .

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

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Alessandro Della Valle/AFP/Getty Images

US Vice President Kamala Harris (L) shakes hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a meeting on the sidelines of the peace summit in Switzerland on Saturday and Sunday.

Heads of state and government from several European countries, including France, Germany and the UK, are joining, as is Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

However, China will not participate. Such a meeting would require the participation of both Russia and Ukraine, it said.

Zelensky’s plan includes demands for an end to hostilities, restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian soil, and restoration of Ukraine’s pre-war borders with Russia.

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

“Ukraine never wanted this war, it was a criminal and completely unprovoked aggression by Russia. Only Putin wanted it,” Zelensky said.

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

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

The proposal calls for the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from four southern and eastern regions of the Ukrainian territory that Moscow has said are annexed in violation of international law and demands that Kyiv abandon its bid to join. NATO.

While Russian forces have made modest gains in two regions — Donetsk and Luhansk — in recent months, they are far from capturing all four, which include Kherson and Zaporizhia.

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Putin later said there were nearly 700,000 Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine, an increase from the 617,000 he announced during his final press conference in 2023.

In an interview with Italian television, Zelensky replied, “Putin’s telling us to give them part of our occupied and unoccupied territories speaks for many parts of our country, and he will stop (there), there will be no frozen conflict.” .”

“The messages are like Hitler’s messages,” Zelensky said

“Putin understands that there will be a peace summit. Most of the world is on Ukraine’s side, on the side of life. And on the eve of the summit, in the midst of air raid sirens, people being killed and missile attacks, he seems to be talking about some kind of ultimatum,” Zelensky added.

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