We would hold peace talks tomorrow if Russia leaves Ukrainian territory - ZELENSKY tells PUTIN

Monday, June 17, 2024 - Ukraine would hold peace talks “tomorrow” if Russia pulls out of all Ukrainian territory, Volodymyr Zelensky said in a response to Russian President, Vladimir Putin at a peace summit in Switzerland.

The two-day summit held to accelerate efforts to stop the war in Ukraine ended on Sunday, June 16 with dozens of countries committing to Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Putin mocked the summit as “just another ploy to divert everyone’s attention, reverse the cause and effect of the Ukrainian crisis [and] set the discussion on the wrong track”.

China, the country’s biggest ally, declined to attend, which assured the summit would fail to achieve Ukraine‘s goal of persuading major countries from the “global South” to join in isolating Russia.

Despite 90 countries attending the two-day conference, they failed to persuade major non-aligned states to join their final statement, and no country came forward to host another meeting.

Still, the conference gave Kyiv a chance to showcase the support from Western allies that it says it needs to keep fighting a far bigger enemy.

“We are responding to Russia‘s full-scale invasion of Ukraine not only with a full-scale defence of human life but also with full-scale diplomacy,”  Zelensky said.

Zelensky added: “Russia can start negotiations tomorrow if they pull out of our territories.”

Zelensky's response comes after Putin promised on Friday to “immediately” order a ceasefire in Ukraine and start negotiations if Kyiv began withdrawing troops from the four regions annexed by Moscow in 2022 and renounced plans to join NATO.

Zelensky rejected what he called an ultimatum by Putin to surrender more territory.

The event included presidents and prime ministers from France, Germany, Britain, Japan, Poland, Argentina, Ecuador, Kenya and Somalia. The Vatican was also represented, and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke for the United States.

India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates – which were represented by foreign ministers or lower-level envoys – were among the countries that did not sign the final document, which focused on issues of nuclear safety, food security and the exchange of prisoners.

Brazil, an “observer” of the conference, did not sign on, but Turkey did.

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Union’s executive Commission, said the conference was rightly titled “Path to Peace” because peace won’t be achieved in a single step.

“It was not a peace negotiation because Putin is not serious about ending the war. He is insisting on capitulation. He is insisting on ceding Ukrainian territory – even territory that today is not occupied by him,” she said.

“He is insisting on disarming Ukraine, leaving it vulnerable to future aggression. No country would ever accept these outrageous terms.”

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