Zelensky Accuses Putin of Sabotaging Upcoming Peace Summit

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky today accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to "fail" the peace summit on Ukraine scheduled for mid-June in Switzerland

by Sededin Dedovic
Zelensky Accuses Putin of Sabotaging Upcoming Peace Summit
© Pool / Getty Images

The exhausting and prolonged war in Ukraine, especially since the beginning of the war in Gaza, is no longer a central topic in numerous influential global media outlets. The recent announcement of the Global Peace Summit on Ukraine in the Swiss city of Lucerne has refocused attention on events in Ukraine and elicited a series of reactions from Moscow.

According to a statement from the Swiss government, talks were also held with Moscow, but it will not be invited at this stage of the discussions. Instead, the plan is to exert some pressure on Moscow in the presence of high representatives from over 100 countries from all continents to participate in one of the subsequent phases of peace negotiations.

Recently, Reuters reported that "Putin wants a ceasefire in Ukraine along the current front lines," citing four Russian sources familiar with the discussions in Putin's inner circle, with the note that Putin is prepared to continue the war if Kyiv and the West do not respond.

According to Reuters, the mentioned sources said that the Russian leader expressed frustration to a small group of advisors over what he sees as Western-backed attempts to block negotiations and Ukrainian President Zelensky's decision not to accept talks.

After this Reuters report, Putin stated at a conference in Belarus (May 24) that negotiations must reflect the reality on the ground, but also that Russia questions the legitimacy of the Ukrainian government and President Volodymyr Zelensky's position.

"Russia is ready to hold talks about the war in Ukraine," he said, "but Zelensky's five-year mandate should have ended on May 20." Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky today accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to ensure the "failure" of the peace summit on Ukraine scheduled for mid-June in Switzerland.

"Putin is very afraid of the peace summit. He is trying to ensure that the summit fails and continues to work towards that goal," Zelensky said at a press conference in Brussels with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

Zelensky also called on US President Joe Biden not to miss the peace summit, stating that the absence of the American president at the meeting would be like "applauding" Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and U.S.

President Joe Biden face reporters while meeting in the Oval Office at the White© Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

"His absence would be like applauding Putin," Zelensky said at a press conference in Brussels, where he signed a security cooperation agreement with the Belgian prime minister and received Belgium's pledge of increased support in the war with Russia.

Washington has not yet confirmed Biden's attendance at the conference to be held on June 15 and 16 in Switzerland. Zelensky rejected the holding of new elections while his country is at war, which is in accordance with Ukrainian legislation that prohibits holding elections during a state of emergency, in force since February 2022.

He dismissed Moscow's demand that the main condition for starting negotiations be allowing Russia to retain occupied parts of Ukrainian territory. At the peace summit in Lucerne, Zelensky will present a "Formula for Peace" in ten points for restoring Ukraine's security and the international order, which he expects to receive support for from his Western partners.

Putin will wait for the results of the US presidential election in November this year, placing great hopes on Donald Trump's victory. Before these elections, it is difficult to expect any significant progress and results in the negotiations, regardless of the outcome of the US elections.

All previous attempts to start negotiations between the two sides in the war have ended in failure. It is challenging to even foresee the end of the war and what peace solutions both sides might agree upon. French President Emmanuel Macron stated today during his visit to Germany that "making peace can be risky," drawing parallels between the wars that have divided Europe for centuries and the conflict in Ukraine, which will be a major topic of discussion with Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the end of his visit.

"Making peace can be risky. And what is even more complicated when you start a war is that you have to find ways and means to continue talking with the enemy so that peace can be achieved at some point," said the French president.

The situation in Ukraine is worsening every day, as the war has been ongoing for over two years with almost the same intensity. According to the World Health Organization, during those two years, 3.7 million people have been internally displaced, over 10,000 civilians have been killed, more than 30,000 civilians have been injured, over 120 medical workers have been killed, more than 1,600 attacks have been carried out on the Ukrainian healthcare system, and over 200 healthcare facilities have been completely destroyed. The lives of Ukrainian citizens are endangered daily, regardless of the part of Ukraine in which they live.

Volodymyr Zelensky Vladimir Putin Ukraine