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In Switzerland, Zelensky announces he wants to present an international peace plan to Moscow

Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff Agence France-Presse “Together we are taking the first step towards a just peace,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said at the opening of the Ukraine Peace Summit in Bürgenstock, Switzerland.

Robin Millard – Agence France-Presse and Christophe Vogt – Agence France-Presse respectively in Bürgenstock and Geneva

Posted at 9:59 a.m. Updated at 9:11 p.m.

  • Europe

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, with the unfailing support of ten leaders gathered around him in Switzerland on Saturday, promised to make peace proposals to Russia once they are validated by the international community.

Kenya, Saudi Arabia and Turkey deplored the fact that Russia, whose summit was denigrated by President Vladimir Putin, has not yet been invited to Switzerland.

“This summit could have been more results-oriented if the other party to the conflict, Russia, was present in the room,” said the head of Turkish diplomacy, Hakan Fidan.

But the majority of the approximately 90 countries present reiterated their support for Ukraine and called for a “just peace” based on the United Nations charter.

“When the action plan is on the table, accepted by all and transparent for the people, then it will be communicated to the representatives of Russia, so that we can truly end the war,” Mr. Zelensky promised, the opening of this two-day summit with measured ambitions in the absence of Moscow and Beijing.

Swiss President Viola Amherd called on the international community to “prepare the ground for direct talks between the warring parties.”

A second summit is already planned, in which kyiv hopes a Russian delegation will participate.

“The next conference absolutely should not take place without Russia. We need to talk to the enemy,” said Slovenian President Natasa Pirc Musar, like other countries.

And French President Emmanuel Macron called for “expanding the circle of countries” around the discussion table.

“Ukraine has indicated that it believes this war must end through negotiations” and “that includes negotiations with Russia,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.

“Now, from Ukraine's point of view, it is firstly about being in the best possible position on the battlefield in order to to be in the best possible position at the negotiating table,” he added.

“The world stronger” than Putin

“Together we take the first step towards a just peace,” the Ukrainian president said, adding that “the world is stronger” than Vladimir Putin.

Several European leaders called on other regions to take stock of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, launched in February 2022.

“It is very important for us in the West to listen to the voices” that point out that “there are wars” elsewhere in the world that “are raging,” explained Finnish President Alexander Stubb.

“You also have to understand that many of us are worried,” he said, recalling that Russia had invaded his country during World War II.

But the Russian president de facto set Ukraine's surrender on Friday as a condition for talks. Demands rejected by kyiv and its allies, like the French president on Saturday: peace in Ukraine cannot “be a capitulation” of kyiv.

Prisoners and deported children

The meeting in Switzerland is held in the ultra-chic resort of Bürgenstock, perched above Lake Lucerne.

The final declaration is under discussion. Switzerland has acceded to certain requests from Mr. Zelensky and his allies, according to the Swiss agency Keystone-ATS, citing a well-informed Ukrainian source.

The term “ Russian aggression” and “territorial integrity” of Ukraine would thus be in the latest version of the draft declaration.

On Sunday, three subjects will be discussed in working groups: security nuclear power, freedom of navigation and food security, and humanitarian aspects, notably the fate of Ukrainian children deported to Russia.

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris denounced this “theft of 'children', saying they expect their deportation to 'increase as the summer months approach, when we hear repugnant references to holiday programs in Russia.'

Ukrainians demand the return of nearly 20,000 minors “deported or forcibly displaced” in Russia.

Billions and alliances

Ukraine arrived “in a position of strength” at the summit after the G7 meeting, the agreement in principle of the 27 at the opening accession to the EU and NATO's decision to directly pilot military support for Ukraine, according to the Finnish president.

The American vice-president Kamala Harris, who represents President Joe Biden returning to the United States after the G7 in Italy, came to the summit with more than $1.5 billion in aid, mainly for the energy sector and for humanitarian aid.

Volodymyr Zelensky has just spent the last few weeks pleading his case around the world and from the G7 to Italy with a $50 billion loan in his pocket.< /p>

The funds will be guaranteed by the interest earned on Russian assets frozen since the start of the invasion. For Vladimir Putin, it is “a theft that will not go unpunished.”

The Ukrainian president also signed security agreements with the United States and Japan on the sidelines of the G7, and again receives weapons from the United States after long months of waiting which put its army in great difficulty.

Trudeau wants return of children kidnapped by Russia

At the summit, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to shine a spotlight on the plight of Ukrainian children kidnapped by Russia and call for their safe return.

“We will work with our partners on a plan to achieve a complete, just and lasting peace for Ukraine,” the prime minister said at a news conference in Italy at the end of the G7 summit.< /p>

When asked what impact the talks would have without Russia's participation, Mr. Trudeau said the summit was part of the peace process.

“We need to see peace and stability in Ukraine, as we need to see around the world, and this is part of the effort we are all undertaking to engage,” he said .

“I will focus in particular on the issue of children abducted from Ukraine by Russia who need to be returned home. »

Several families told stories of their children's captivity and their attempts to escape when they appeared before a House of Commons international human rights subcommittee last year in Ottawa, in hope that Canadian parliamentarians will help save others.

It is unclear how many children were forcibly taken to Russia or the territories it controls in Ukraine. Save the Children told the committee in November that Ukrainian and Russian estimates of the number ranged from 2,000 to 20,000.

The Canadian Press

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116