DC Edit | No Ukraine talks sans Russia

By :  DC Comment
Update: 2024-06-17 19:37 GMT
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (C) applauds next to Swiss Federal President Viola Amherd (L) and Ukraine Head of the presidential Office of Ukraine Andriy Yermak during a plenary session at the Summit on peace in Ukraine, at the luxury Burgenstock resort, near Lucerne, on June 16, 2024. The two-day gathering brings together Ukrainian President and more than 50 other heads of state and government, to try to work out a way towards a peace process for Ukraine -- albeit without Russia. (Photo by ALESSANDRO DELLA VALLE / POOL / AFP)

India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and South Africa refused to sign the Ukraine peace communique that western powers and most of their allies attending the two-day summit in Burgenstock, Switzerland put out.

Holding such a summit with 90 countries attending it was a genuine attempt to get the issue of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the relentless war waged there since February 24, 2022 talked about and a possible path to peace found.

India and other abstainers had, however, the right to point out that the very idea of peace talks without one of the two parties in the conflict — in this case, the aggressor Russia — was never going to be a credible process. It is a bit like staging Macbeth without Banquo’s ghost in it.

The fact that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had mooted the idea to have a global powers gathering at a summit may have backfired with Russia denouncing the idea and one of the leaders of the Global South in China, now the country with the most influence on how Russia may respond to world issues, not attending. Mr Joe Biden, President of the US, Ukraine’s staunchest ally and backer with arms, ammunition and finance, could not be present as he had to rush to the presidential election campaign trail, instead he sent his vice president Kamala Harris. But the pointlessness of the summit without Russia in it was already clear.

As if to take on the summiteers, including the heads of state of France and Germany, even before they got there, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin put out what he termed a peace proposal but was, in fact, an ultimatum for Ukraine to withdraw fully from the four provinces that Moscow claims to have annexed. Also, Mr Putin would like a guarantee that Ukraine would not join Nato ever.

Mr Putin’s offer was more akin to holding a gun to Ukraine’s head than a serious peace move and hence the war will go on. Kyiv’s takeaway from the Alpine resort town conclave was reiteration of western support for the defence of Ukraine even as Mr Zelenskyy shows the world that his country is prepared to look for a peaceful settlement after having suffered an invasion.


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