Zelenskiy arrives in Singapore for Shangri-La Dialogue

By Thomson Reuters Jun 1, 2024 | 5:07 AM

By Gerry Doyle and Idrees Ali

SINGAPORE(Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy arrived in Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue on Saturday, where he planned to meet U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and discuss support for his embattled country in an address to delegates.

The International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), which organises the security conference, said he would participate in a discussion session on Sunday entitled “Re-Imagining Solutions for Global Peace and Regional Stability”.

He is expected to ask attendees at the conference to attend and support a “peace summit” this month in Switzerland. Zelenskiy said on Wednesday that Russia is trying to disrupt the summit, scheduled for June 15-16, which he hopes will generate support for the withdrawal of Russian troops and the restoration of Ukraine’s 1991 borders.

Reuters first reported his planned trip to Singapore on Friday.

It is Zelenskiy’s second trip to Asia since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. In May 2023, he attended the G7 meetings in Japan.

Russia has begun renewed assaults against Ukrainian lines and has stepped up missile attacks in recent months. Russian troops have made small gains in Ukraine’s east and south, even as Kyiv’s allies accelerate shipments of ammunition and other arms.

The United States this year approved $61 billion of weapons for Ukraine, some of which – such as Patriot missiles and ATACMS precision ballistic missiles – have already arrived there.

On Thursday, U.S. officials said President Joe Biden had assured Ukraine it could use U.S. weapons to strike targets across the border in Russia that were being used to attack areas around Kharkiv, a city in Ukraine’s northeast.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned NATO members against allowing Ukraine to fire their weapons into Russia and on Tuesday once again raised the risk of nuclear war.

Sweden also approved a new security package this week worth about $1 billion that included armoured vehicles, and for the first time, airborne warning and control aircraft that can spot targets in the air at extreme distances.

Austin, who spoke earlier on Saturday at the Shangri-La Dialogue, noted in his remarks that the support for Ukrainian forces pushing back against Russia’s invasion for more than two years showed that countries around the world could rally in the face of aggression.

The Shangri-La conference, held annually in Singapore by the International Institute of Strategic Studies for the last 21 years, ends on June 2.

(Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)