Peace Talks in Switzerland as Russian Forces Enter Key Ukrainian City of Chasiv Yar

For the past two weeks, Ukrainian President Zelensky has been focused on peace talks in Switzerland, but what is the purpose of peace talks while on the front, in the meantime, several hundred fighters on both sides are dying every day

by Sededin Dedovic
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Peace Talks in Switzerland as Russian Forces Enter Key Ukrainian City of Chasiv Yar
© John Moore / Getty Images

Ninety countries and organizations have so far registered to participate in the peace summit on Ukraine that Switzerland will host from June 15 to 16, the Swiss government announced on Monday. Russia has not been invited to the summit, which will be held in central Switzerland, but the government stated that the meeting aims to "jointly define a plan" on how to include both Moscow and Kyiv in a future peace process, Hina reports, citing Reuters.

Switzerland agreed in January to organize the summit at the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and has sought to garner support among countries with better relations with Moscow than the leading Western powers.

‘Waste of Time’

Moscow has dismissed the summit as a "waste of time." Russia was not invited, the Swiss authorities said, because it indicated it did not intend to attend. However, Switzerland also emphasized that Russia must be part of the peace process.

The absence of Moscow has prompted its powerful allies, like China, to say that peace talks are meaningless if both Russia and Ukraine are not participating. This has lowered expectations for any significant progress in the negotiations in Switzerland.

The summit will discuss topics of broader international interest, such as the need for nuclear and food security, freedom of navigation, and humanitarian issues like prisoners of war, said Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis.

Zelensky previously confirmed that 106 countries and organizations have decided to participate in the upcoming peace conference to end the conflict in Ukraine, which will be held in Switzerland. Zelensky, speaking in Singapore before more than 500 participants of the Asian security conference "Shangri-La Dialogue"—heads of state, ministers, and other officials from around 50 countries—said that the peace conference in Switzerland would be the best way to end the war in Ukraine, Reuters reports.

Switzerland will host the conference on Ukraine's "peace formula" in June, which will be held at the Burgenstock resort in central Switzerland.

: Ukrainian soldiers with the 57th Motorized Brigade operate at an artillery position on June 9, 2024 near Vovchansk, Kharkiv Re© Getty Images / Getty Images

While talks of a peace summit occur, hundreds of people die daily on the front

Russian forces are advancing toward their long-term goal of capturing the strategic Ukrainian city of Chasiv Yar, according to the latest reports from both warring sides.

Chasiv Yar is situated on an elevation about 20 kilometers west of Bakhmut, a city that Russian forces took a year ago. Both sides see it as a potential starting point for a Russian advance toward the key cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, Hina reports, citing Reuters.

Breaking Through Destroyed Areas

Ukrainska Pravda cited a military source and blogger who reported that Russian forces began occupying part of the city along the canal. Russian assault troops continue clearing the canal area, the Russian 98th Airborne Division announced on Telegram.

Videos released by both sides show soldiers advancing through nearly destroyed urban areas and checking buildings. President Volodymyr Zelensky did not mention Chasiv Yar in his Sunday night video address but said the most challenging sector to defend is the area around the city of Pokrovsk in the southwest.

Russia has 20,000 to 25,000 soldiers attempting to attack Chasiv Yar and surrounding villages in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian military announced earlier, describing the situation in that area as difficult.

Stopped Russian Offensive on Kharkiv

The Russian military offensive around the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv has been halted, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stated on Sunday, attributing this to the green light Washington gave Ukrainians to attack targets within Russia.

"From President Biden's standpoint, it’s just common sense. What was happening around Kharkiv, the recent Russian offensive, there was no reason not to allow Ukrainians to strike across the border," Sullivan said on CBS.

"I want to emphasize that this (Russian) offensive on Kharkiv has been stopped. That city is still under threat from the Russians, who have not advanced in that area in recent days," Sullivan said. The U.S. president had long refused to allow Ukrainians to use U.S.-supplied weapons to attack within Russian territory but recently changed his stance.

However, Biden set certain conditions, specifying that only border areas could be targeted. According to him, Biden gave approval to Ukrainians, and they applied it on the battlefield, AFP reported. Russia has intensified its rhetoric against the West, accusing the United States of allegedly using American weapons against civilians on its soil and blaming France for fueling tensions across Europe.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated on Friday that last week’s U.S. decision to give the green light for Ukraine to use American weapons on targets in Russia constitutes "an admission ... of killing children and women in the Belgorod region." Her claims could not be independently verified, and Ukraine and the U.S. have yet to comment on them.

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