Seek peace in Ukraine – initially without Russia

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Written By Maya Cantina


After more than two years of war in Ukraine, more than ninety countries in Switzerland are looking for ways to achieve peace – but initially without Russia. The country that attacked and partially occupied Ukraine must remain outside the so-called peace summit on a ridge above Lake Lucerne. Initially, several participants – including Chancellor Olaf Scholz – spoke out in favor of involving the aggressor in the process at a future meeting.

“It is true that peace in Ukraine cannot be achieved without involving Russia,” Scholz said. But at the same time, he made clear what he believes are the conditions for peace: “Russia could end this war today or at any time if it stops its attacks and withdraws its troops from Ukraine.”

Harris: Putin wants surrender

Russian President Vladimir Putin Immediately before the summit, he had laid out the terms for peace negotiations, including Ukraine’s complete relinquishment of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhia and the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea – just over a fifth of Ukraine’s territory.

US Vice President Kamala Harris dismissed the demand as absurd. “We have to tell the truth. He is not calling for negotiations, he is calling for surrender,” she told Putin, assuring Ukraine of continued support in its defensive battle against Russia. “America supports Ukraine not out of charity, but because it is in our strategic interest.”

The initiative for the summit came from the Swiss government and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “We have managed to give diplomacy a chance,” Zelensky said before the summit opened.

The first steps towards peace will be discussed tomorrow. It will also discuss the safety of the Russian-occupied nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia and the rejection of the use of nuclear weapons. Ukraine’s grain exports through the Black Sea and prisoner exchanges, which are particularly important for the so-called Global South, will also be discussed.

Biden prefers to go to a campaign event

The Swiss host countries had been trying for months to get as many countries as possible to participate in the summit. 160 people were invited, more than 90 accepted and many of them were represented by heads of state and government. Scholz traveled directly from the G7 summit in southern Italy to Switzerland. American president Joe Biden On the other hand, he has opted out of a rally to collect campaign donations in Los Angeles and is now represented by his deputy Harris.

Even if they did not invite Russia, the Swiss hosts tried to bring as many countries as possible that were friends of Russia to the table. The result is sobering. China, Russia’s most important ally, canceled it completely. Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the long trip to Europe to participate in the G7 summit on Friday. But they skipped the Swiss conference that immediately followed. Brazil is now only there as an observer, according to the list of participants, India has only sent a State Secretary from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The national security advisor is there for South Africa.

Next conference in Saudi Arabia?

The highest representative of the countries that are still friends with Russia despite the war of aggression is now the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud. His country is being considered as a possible host for a follow-up conference in which Russia could also participate.

But it is still completely unclear when the time will be right for this. “We are still a long way from that,” Scholz said before the summit started. The peace process is a delicate plant that needs to be watered now. “But we want the garden to blossom and flourish.”

The Swiss organizers of the meeting hope that a new conference will be decided this year. “As an international community, we can help lay the foundation for direct talks between the warring parties,” said President Viola Amherd.

Serious attempts to find a peace solution between Russia and Ukraine were not made until shortly after the invasion in 2022. Before the Swiss conference, the American newspaper ‘New York Times’ published the draft treaty. On Friday, Putin tried to present the proposal as an agreement ready to be signed.

According to the documents, Ukraine was prepared at the time to refrain from joining NATO and remain non-aligned. The issue of the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia should be postponed. However, Moscow tried to undermine the security guarantees Kiev had hoped for from other countries, such as the US. As the New York Times reported, several contemporary historians have concluded in recent months that the two sides are still a long way from reaching an agreement in 2022.

An announcement: This report is part of an automated service of the German Press Agency (dpa), which operates according to strict journalistic rules. It is not edited or controlled by the AZ online editors. Feel free to send questions and comments

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