Russia rejects the Swiss peace summit as a “fraud”

Though around 90 countries will be participating in the summit, countries such as China have maintained that the gathering is meaningless without the Russian participation

June 15, 2024 by Peoples Dispatch
Photo via TASS

The two-day Ukraine peace summit will start on Saturday, June 15 amidst widespread speculation about its objectives. The possibility that this will start a process for peace is also in serious doubt given the non-participation of several significant countries such as China and no invitation to Russia, one of the main parties of the conflict. 

According to the Reuters, nearly 90 states and international organizations, mostly from the West, have confirmed participation in the summit which will be held on June 15-16 at Burgenstock in Switzerland.

Despite the participation of some Global South countries such as India, the summit is expected to be dominated by the Europeans, the US, and their allies.

Meanwhile, there is widespread speculation about the objectives of the summit. Swiss President and Defense Minister Viola Amherd had claimed that there will be no peace agreement signed at the summit. Instead of pushing for peace, the conference would discuss “humanitarian issues, nuclear safety, freedom of navigation and food security,” Amherd confirmed.

Amherd claimed that these issues are necessary to discuss in order to build peace later on. However, Ukraine has claimed that the summit is organized to formulate a common position among the participants, which can be later presented to Russia as a peace plan. Ukraine has reiterated that unilateral withdrawal of Russia would be one of the most significant parts of that plan.

Russia was not invited for the summit. Moscow confirmed that it would not have participated even if there was an invitation, given the West’s continued support for Ukraine. Russia claims that the so-called peace conference is a way for Ukrainians to gain support from an even broader group of countries for Russia’s unilateral withdrawal.

Speaking about the summit on Friday, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia, told Sputnik that the peace summit is “an attempt at fraud.”

“The West is trying with all its might to drag the countries of the global South there, and the main purpose of the event is to present Moscow with an ultimatum in the form of Zelensky’s peace plan,” Nebenzia said.

Legitimate peace summit would see participation of both parties

China declined its invite to the summit. In a formal statement last month, it clarified that this decision was based on the fact that Russia was not invited. Participation of both parties is basic for any peace summit for it to be meaningful, China claimed.  

“China always maintains that an international peace conference needs to meet the three important elements of recognition from both Russia and Ukraine, equal participation of all the parties, and fair discussion of all peace plans. Otherwise the peace conference can hardly play a substantive role in restoring peace,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on May 31 during a regular press briefing.

Ukraine had withdrawn from talks during the initial days of the war in 2022, under the pressure by its Western allies. Since then, it has maintained that it will not negotiate with Russia until the larger country withdraws from all Ukrainian territories, faces trial for alleged war crimes and pays remuneration. Russia has rejected Ukrainian demands, calling them “unreal and absurd.”

China and several other countries in the Global South have already proposed various plans for peace in the last couple of years. However, most of those plans have not been considered. In a meeting in Singapore on June 2, Zelensky had even accused China of working hard to dissuade countries from participating in the Swiss summit. The allegations were denied by the Chinese.

Mao Ning has said that “China sincerely hopes that a peace conference will not turn into a platform used to create block confrontation. Not attending it does not mean not supporting peace.”

The West has supported Ukraine with the supplies of billions of dollars worth of weapons and other financial aid, encouraging the country to keep fighting. On Thursday, during the ongoing G7 Summit, the West pledged another USD 50 billion loan to Ukraine, taken from over USD 260 billion of immobilized Russian assets.