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World leaders meet in Switzerland to discuss a roadmap to peace for Ukraine

The forum is not a negotiation but is described by Swiss President Viola Amherd as a “wish to inspire a process for a just and lasting peace.”
Russia Ukraine War
Posted at 7:55 AM, Jun 15, 2024

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sought to make the case for the global impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine as he kicked off the Summit on Peace in Ukraine hosted by Switzerland on Saturday.

Zelenskyy called the representation from across the globe “unprecedented” noting the views and ideas of each nation were equally important to Ukraine.

“This is something that is close to every nation in the world that is why we have managed to bring together 101 countries and international organizations for today,” Zelenskyy added, as leaders from not only Europe but across the globe convened above Lake Lucerne.

The forum is not a negotiation but is described by Swiss President Viola Amherd as a “wish to inspire a process for a just and lasting peace.”

It narrowly focuses on three points of Zelenskyy’s 10-point peace plan: Nuclear safety, food security and the return of prisoners of war and abducted children. They are topics, Amherd noted, that impact a large number of states.

Amherd said Russia, not invited to the summit, must also be involved at some point, describing a goal to understand a framework and the circumstances in which the invading country can be involved in a future peace process.

However, some experts underscored China’s influence on Russia and the PRC abstaining from participating.

“They're enabling Russia to prosecute this war. They're keeping the Russian economy afloat. And in that respect, the Chinese really have thrown their odd in with the Russians. And I think we're going to have to see a change in Beijing's attitude if we are really going to get to an end game,” said Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who served as a senior director for European affairs on the National Security Council in the Obama administration

However, more than 90 countries were represented, including India, while South Africa and Brazil attended at the envoy level.

“I think in some ways, Zelensky purpose here is to win over hearts and minds. Is to bring to the table the leaders of many countries of the global south that have really been sitting on the fence. They haven't come down hard against Russia. They're more concerned about food shortages, supply chain disruptions, energy prices than they are about Russia's act of aggression,” said Kupchan.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who will represent the US during the summit’s second day, encouraged the Ukrainians to get as many countries to sign up, according to a senior administration official.

“I think that in itself, you know, is a message to Russia, and that would be a definition of success,” the official said.

But ahead of the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded Ukraine’s withdrawal from territory Russia claims and abandon its vision to join NATO.

"You know Putin has occupied, illegally occupied, sovereign Ukrainian territory. He is not in any position to dictate to Ukraine what they must do to bring about a peace,” said US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin Friday.

Zelenskyy is expected to meet with Vice President Kamala Harris, representing the United States between the G7 and NATO leaders summits. Harris is expected to continue to show the US’ support for Ukraine, following the signing of a 10-year bilateral security agreement.

Ahead of the meeting, Harris announced $1.5 billion in support for Ukraine. It includes funding for energy assistance and redirecting some for emergency needs to help repair, protect and expand energy infrastructure, as well as humanitarian assistance to aid refugees.