Biden and Xi Jinping Invited by Zelensky to Peace Summit in Switzerland

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has invited US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping to participate in a peace summit scheduled for June 15-16 in Switzerland, aimed at addressing the ongoing conflict in Ukraine

by Sededin Dedovic
Biden and Xi Jinping Invited by Zelensky to Peace Summit in Switzerland
© Michele Tantussi / Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued last night an invitation to US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping to participate in a peace summit planned for June 15-16 in Switzerland. The summit is organized at Ukraine's request, but Russia has not been invited.

"I appeal to world leaders… Presidents Biden and Xi to support peace at the summit with their leadership and participation," Zelensky said in a video message in English. In the video, Zelensky stands in front of ruins in Kharkiv, the country's second-largest city, which recently suffered heavy bombardment.

### Context of the Summit and Expectations

The conference will be held in Lucerne, central Switzerland, Europe, and invitations have been sent to more than 160 delegations from around the world. However, Russia has not been invited "at this stage," as announced by the Swiss government on its website in early May.

Invitees include G7, G20, and BRICS countries, many other nations from all continents, as well as the EU, three international organizations (UN, OSCE, and the Council of Europe), and two religious representatives (the Vatican and the Ecumenical Patriarchate).

Zelensky emphasized that the efforts of the world majority are the best guarantee that all commitments will be honored. Russia, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the organization of the summit without its participation, emphasizing that "there is no point" in holding such an event without it.

Russia also criticized Zelensky's "peace formula," which includes the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory, financial reparations to Kyiv, and the establishment of a special court to prosecute Russian officials.

### China's Stance and Other Participants

China recently confirmed its stance supporting "an international peace conference at an appropriate time, recognized by both Russia and Ukraine, with equal participation of all parties, and fair discussion of all peace plans." Zelensky stated that more than 80 countries have confirmed their participation, but Biden's attendance has not yet been confirmed.

Vladimir Zelensky© Michele Tantussi / Getty Images

Meanwhile, the situation in Ukraine remains tense. President Zelensky warned that Russia is preparing to intensify its offensive along Ukraine's northern border.

The death toll from an attack on a building materials store in Kharkiv has risen to 14. Images on Ukrainian social media show a building with a huge column of black smoke billowing out. According to officials, between 10,000 and 15,000 square meters of warehouse and sales space were burning.

"Russia has dealt another brutal blow to our city of Kharkiv – a construction hypermarket – today, in broad daylight," Zelensky wrote on Telegram as the fire continued to rage. "We know that there might have been over 200 people in the hypermarket.

All services are already on-site to help save people and extinguish the fire," he added. Zelensky reiterated his call for Western allies to provide more air defense systems to Ukraine. "If Ukraine had enough air defense systems and modern fighter jets, such Russian attacks would not be possible," he emphasized.

### Ongoing Attacks and Preparations for Offensive

The city of Kharkiv, which had a pre-war population of 1.5 million and is close to the Russian border in northeastern Ukraine, is regularly targeted by Russian forces. In a video statement from Kharkiv, Zelensky said that Russia is preparing offensive actions 90 kilometers northwest of Kharkiv.

According to him, the Russians are "gathering another group of soldiers near our border." He did not specify where the troops are gathering, but Ukrainian officials have expressed strong concern about the Sumy region. The city of Sumy, with about 250,000 people, is about 25 kilometers from the Russian border.

During the night, Russian forces carried out missile and drone attacks. Ukrainian officials reported that air defense units intercepted 31 Shahed drones and 12 cruise missiles launched by Russia in the regions of Mykolaiv, Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava, Zaporizhzhia, Khmelnytskyi, Kirovohrad, Vinnytsia, and Chernihiv.

Russia launched 14 missiles and more than thirty drones, according to a statement from the Ukrainian Air Force. It is unclear what damage was caused by the missiles and drones that were not intercepted. At the same time, the governor of Russia's Belgorod region, located across the border from Ukraine, said that four people were injured in Ukrainian attacks overnight.

The Russian Ministry of Defense reported that seven drones were shot down over the Kursk region and three over Oryol, both north of Belgorod. The peace summit that Ukraine is planning in Switzerland aims to bring together global leaders and find a solution to the conflict that has lasted more than a year.

Although Russia is not invited, the support of key players like the US and China could provide new momentum to peace efforts. However, the situation on the ground remains dire, with ongoing attacks and military escalation, further complicating the path to peace.

Xi Jinping Volodymyr Zelensky Joe Biden