Ukraine’s Zelenskiy says Russia putting pressure on countries to shun peace summit

By Thomson Reuters May 29, 2024 | 3:12 PM

(Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday that Russia was still trying to disrupt next month’s world “peace summit” devoted to the conflict with Russia and was putting pressure on countries to stay away from the gathering.

Zelenskiy wants the summit, scheduled for June 15-16 in Switzerland, to produce a front to exert pressure on Russia and advance his “peace formula” — which calls for the withdrawal of Russian troops and the restoration of Ukraine’s 1991 borders.

In his nightly video address, Zelenskiy said “nearly 100 countries and international organisations” were now associated with “global efforts” to resolve the conflict.

“Russia will no longer be able to disrupt the summit although it is trying very hard to do so,” Zelenskiy said.

“It is putting pressure on leaders, openly threatening various countries with destabilisation. And this is one of the consequences of the world giving the terrorist state too much time.”

He said officials from Ukraine’s government, parliament and other institutions were working to ensure maximum participation and make the summit “truly effective, which is needed to bring real peace closer”.

The summit’s Swiss hosts have not invited Russia and Moscow dismisses the event as pointless without its participation.

The Kremlin says it is prepared to negotiate on an end to the conflict and suggests as a starting point talks held in the war’s first weeks in 2022 which appeared to be close to an agreement, which Ukrainian negotiators then rejected.

Moscow dismisses Zelenskiy’s plan as unworkable and says any discussion must take into account “new realities”, including the fact that Russia holds about 18 percent of Ukraine’s territory.

Russia annexed four Ukrainian regions several months after its full-scale invasion in February 2022, though it does not have full control over any of them.

(Reporting by Ron Popeski and Oleksander Kozhukhar; editing by Jonathan Oatis)