Ukraine Peace Summit in Switzerland Focuses on Nuclear Security and Food Exports Amidst Tensions

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Ukraine Peace Summit in Switzerland Focuses on Nuclear Security and Food Exports Amidst Tensions
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Secretary of Security Council Armen Grigoryan of Armenia during the opening plenary session, during the Summit on peace in Ukraine, in Stansstad near Lucerne, Switzerland, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Heads of state from around the world gather on the Buergenstock Resort in central Switzerland for the Summit on Peace in Ukraine, on June 15 and 16. MICHAEL BUHOLZER/Pool via REUTERS

World leaders at the Ukraine Peace Summit in Switzerland are focusing on securing nuclear sites and Ukraine’s food exports. They aim to adopt a communique that blames Russia for the war’s widespread suffering and destruction, a goal Kyiv supports. However, Austria’s leader noted that unanimous support for the declaration is unlikely.

The summit, attended by over 90 countries and international organizations, seeks broad backing for ending the war in Ukraine. Russia and its major ally China are not present, raising doubts about the summit’s effectiveness. Among those attending are nations not typically supportive of Ukraine, such as Saudi Arabia and Kenya. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has cautioned that Ukraine will need to make difficult compromises, and Kenya has criticized recent sanctions on Russia.

A draft final document, seen by Reuters, calls for Ukrainian control over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and ports on the Azov Sea, currently occupied by Russia. It labels Russia’s actions as a “war,” a term Moscow rejects. Humanitarian issues, including the return of prisoners and abducted children, are also being discussed, while more contentious topics like the status of Russian-occupied land are deferred for later.

The summit organizers hope to announce a follow-up conference, potentially in Saudi Arabia. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte emphasized the united quest for peace among attendees, despite differing opinions on achieving it. “We are totally united at a shared vision on principles, on values, on decency,” he said.

Although a unanimous condemnation of Russia’s invasion was expected, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer stated that not all delegations would support the final declaration. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned that the summit’s outcomes would be communicated to Moscow to facilitate a resolution at a second peace summit.

Russia has dismissed the Swiss summit as futile, with President Vladimir Putin proposing a ceasefire contingent on Ukraine withdrawing troops from four partially occupied regions. Western leaders at the summit rejected this proposal, with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni calling it “propaganda” and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak accusing Putin of “spinning a phoney narrative.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov indicated that Putin did not rule out talks with Ukraine but insisted that credible guarantees are needed and excluded President Zelensky from participating.

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