July 16, 2024

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Peace talks ‘tomorrow’ if Russia withdraws from Ukraine – Zelensky

Peace talks ‘tomorrow’ if Russia withdraws from Ukraine – Zelensky
Comment on the photo, Zelensky and other world leaders made closing statements after the summit

  • author, Robert Greenall
  • Role, BBC News

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Kiev will hold peace talks with Russia tomorrow if Moscow withdraws from all Ukrainian territory.

But he said at the conclusion of a peace summit in Switzerland that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not end the war and it must be stopped “in any way possible,” whether by military or diplomatic means.

He added that Western aid was not enough to win the war, but the summit showed that international support for Ukraine was not weakening.

The meeting concluded with the commitment of dozens of countries to the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

A final document was adopted that blamed Russia for the widespread suffering and destruction of the war.

However, many participating countries including India, South Africa and Saudi Arabia have not signed it.

The summit aims to create the broadest possible support for a process that could help end the war in Ukraine.

The summit was attended by more than 90 countries and international organizations.

Russia was not invited, and China, its biggest backer, was not present, leading some to question the effectiveness of the summit.

The final document calls for the restoration of Ukrainian control over the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which is currently occupied by Russia.

The resolution also refers to the Russian invasion as a “war,” a description Moscow rejected.

It called for the exchange of all prisoners and the return of children kidnapped by Russia.

The more controversial topics, such as the status of territories under Russian occupation, will be left for later.

Speaking to reporters after the summit, Zelensky thanked the world leaders who attended, saying he was grateful that they showed independence in their attendance despite pressure from Russia on them to stay away.

“This summit says international support [for Ukraine] It does not weaken,” he said, noting that countries that had not previously participated in diplomatic efforts joined the process.

When the BBC asked him whether Ukraine’s weaker position on the battlefield had forced him to consider diplomatic moves, he replied that this was not the case and that Ukraine had always talked about peace.

He said that Moscow’s presence in the negotiations would show its readiness for peace.

“Russia can start negotiations tomorrow if it withdraws from our lands,” he said.

Zelensky also said that China is not an enemy of Ukraine.

“We respect China and its territorial integrity, and we want China to do the same for us,” he said, calling on Beijing to seriously engage in developing peace proposals.

“We all know that we are only at the beginning, the beginning of the path towards peace,” he said.

“And although some of us around this table have different opinions about how to achieve peace in Ukraine, let there be no mistake… We are completely united in a shared vision on principles, values ​​and decency.

“You don’t invade another country. You don’t kidnap children. You don’t play politics with the world’s food supply. And you don’t jeopardize nuclear safety.”

All delegations were expected to support a final statement condemning the Russian invasion, but Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer told reporters on Sunday that the declaration would not be supported unanimously.

Zelensky said on Saturday that the results of the Swiss summit would be sent to Moscow “so that at the second peace summit we can determine the true end of the war.”

Russia described the Swiss event as a waste of time, and President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that he would agree to a ceasefire if Ukraine withdraws its forces from four regions that Russia partially occupies and claims to have annexed.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni described the matter as “propaganda,” and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak accused Putin of “weaving a false narrative about his willingness to negotiate.”

Then Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday that the Russian leader had not ruled out talks with Ukraine, but added that guarantees were needed to ensure their credibility, and that Zelensky could not be a participant.