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Ukraine gains European backing for peace summit without Russia – WSJ

Ukraine gains European backing for peace summit without Russia – WSJ

Ukraine, backed by European leaders, is planning a global summit excluding Russia, aiming to gather support for its terms to end the war

According to senior Ukrainian presidential adviser and European diplomats, Ukraine and its allies are working towards the organization of a global leaders summit that would exclude Russia. The aim of this summit is to gather support for Kyiv’s proposed terms for ending the war, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

There is strong support for this preliminary gathering among European leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, who are pushing for the participation of nations that have sided with Russia or have yet to take a position on the war. “We require a unified plan of the responsible civilized world that really wants to live in peace,” stated Andriy Yermak, the Chief of Staff for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Yermak clarified that direct negotiations with Russia would not be possible as long as Russian troops remain in Ukraine, emphasizing Ukraine’s non-negotiable stance on its territorial integrity. European officials are reportedly working closely with Kyiv to refine Ukraine’s 10-point peace plan, with the aim of making it more agreeable to other global powers like India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and China.

“The process is not possible without the whole world, including the leaders of the global south,” Yermak, who is also Zelensky’s top adviser, expressed. Ukraine has been making concerted efforts to engage with countries like China, Brazil, and India in recent months, and Yermak stated that Ukraine is prepared to hear the opinions of all countries, including representatives of China and Brazil, who visited this month.

Zelensky’s peace plan proposes the restoration of Ukraine’s control over its territory, the return of prisoners of war, and the prosecution of war crimes. It also outlines concerns about nuclear safety, which Ukraine believes has been compromised by Russia’s occupation of a nuclear power plant, and food security, which is threatened by the hindrance of grain exports due to Russia’s invasion.

Ukraine’s formula for peace: Russia withdraws from Ukraine, returns POWs and deportees, pays reparations – Zelenskyy

Key leaders from NATO, including President Biden, would be invited for the meeting. Western diplomats hope this gathering can occur shortly before NATO’s annual July summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. The NATO summit will be focusing on Ukraine’s future relationship with the organization and military support for Ukraine.

Earlier this year, Zelensky requested Macron’s assistance in reaching out to leaders like China’s Xi Jinping. These discussions evolved into plans for a conference, which Macron has offered to host in Paris. Additionally, Denmark and Sweden have also proposed hosting the event.

No definitive list of attendees has been established, WSJ reports. but European officials have been visiting capitals of leading world powers in recent weeks, aiming to bring non-Western countries such as Brazil, India, and China on board. One official involved in the discussions expressed hope that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would attend, though they were less certain about Xi Jinping’s participation.

Efforts from Western countries are being made as countries with close ties to Russia have tried to lead diplomatic efforts to end the war. Brazil and China have sent peace envoys to Moscow and European capitals for discussions on ending the war. Neither country has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and both have advocated for a quick cease-fire.

The proposed peace meeting aims to place Ukraine and its allies back at the center of international diplomacy. European officials intend to ensure that future discussions consider Kyiv’s plan as the diplomatic reference point. “No Russians but everybody else will be welcomed,” a senior European diplomat said of summit planning.

It is hoped that the timing of the conference, being before the NATO meeting, would send a signal to the rest of the world that while Europe and the US will continue to support Ukraine with arms, they are also seeking diplomatic solutions to a conflict whose economic repercussions have negatively affected much of the developing world. Western countries have been criticized by rivals including China and Brazil for sending arms to Ukraine, which they argue is exacerbating the conflict.

The concept for the conference originated from a conversation between Macron and Zelensky in Paris in February, where Macron urged his Ukrainian counterpart to accept the inevitability of peace talks with the Kremlin. Macron raised this issue with Xi during a recent visit to Beijing. The idea was also discussed at this month’s G7 conference in Japan, according to US and Ukrainian officials.

Zelensky also recently spoke with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, with a German statement mentioning that the two leaders would remain in close contact “with a view to mobilizing global support for a peace solution.”

US officials have recently voiced skepticism about the likelihood of meaningful diplomacy before the end of the year.

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