Peace talks ‘tomorrow’ if Russia leaves Ukraine

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

But speaking at the close of a peace summit in Switzerland, he said Russian President Vladimir Putin would not end the war and it had to be stopped “any way we can,” whether by military or diplomatic means.

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

The meeting concluded with dozens of countries committing to Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

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

However, several attending countries, including India, South Africa and Saudi Arabia, did not sign it.

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

More than 90 countries and international organizations attended the summit.

Russia was not invited and its biggest sponsor, China, was not present, leading some to cast doubt on the summit’s effectiveness.

Some of those gathered at the Swiss resort of Bürgenstock were not Ukraine’s closest supporters, including Saudi Arabia, whose foreign minister warned that Ukraine will have to make difficult concessions, and Kenya, which spoke out against recent sanctions on Russia.

The final document demands that Ukraine restore control over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, currently occupied by Russia.

He also refers to the Russian invasion as a “war,” a label Moscow has rejected.

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

The most controversial issues, such as the status of the lands under Russian occupation, will be left for later.

Speaking to reporters after the summit, Zelensky thanked the world leaders who attended and said he was grateful that they had shown independence by attending despite pressure from Russia to stay away.

“This summit says that international support (for Ukraine) is not weakening,” he said, noting that states that had not previously participated in diplomatic efforts had joined the process.

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

He said Moscow’s presence in the negotiations would demonstrate its desire for peace.

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

Zelensky also said that China was not Ukraine’s enemy.

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

Earlier, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said attendees were united in their pursuit of peace in Ukraine.

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

“And although some of us at this table have different opinions on exactly how to achieve peace for Ukraine, make no mistake… we are totally 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 security.”

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

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

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

But one day later Western leaders attending the summit strongly rejected Putin’s proposal..

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

Then on Sunday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian leader was not ruling out talks with Ukraine, but added that guarantees would be needed to ensure his credibility and that Zelensky would not be able to participate.

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