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Russia says no to Switzerland ‘peace conference’

The alpine nation can “hardly serve” as a neutral platform for Ukraine talks, the Foreign Ministry has stated

Moscow has no intention of participating in a proposed Swiss-hosted peace conference on the Ukraine conflict, even if it is officially invited, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has stated.

The official response follows recent media reports that China and Switzerland have been pushing to get Russia invited to the talks. Last month, Switzerland announced plans to organize a peace summit “by the summer.” No specific date has been named as of yet. The list of participants has also not been revealed. However, Ukraine has indicated that Russia can only be invited if it agrees in advance to a litany of preconditions.

“This forum will be dedicated to promoting the ultimatum ‘Zelensky peace formula,’ although its Swiss organizers pretend that they are looking for a common denominator in the peace initiatives of different countries,” Zakharova said, according to a press release issued on Wednesday on the ministry’s website.

She explained that Zelensky’s plan includes a number of unrealistic terms, including the withdrawal of Russian troops to Ukraine’s 1991 borders, holding Moscow accountable and paying reparations, as well as provisions on food, nuclear safety, energy, ecology, and humanitarian problems. Kiev’s basic demands remain the same, while legitimate Russian interests are being ignored, Zakharova said.

“So, the upcoming conference is a continuation of meetings in the Copenhagen format, which initially discredited themselves, and now have reached a dead end.” 

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Moscow is convinced that “Switzerland can hardly serve as a platform for various peacekeeping efforts, since this presupposes a neutral status, which Bern has lost,” the spokeswoman claimed.

“All this makes Russia’s participation in the aforementioned ‘peace conference’ pointless as it doesn’t matter whether it will be held in one, two or five stages – its ultimatum essence, promoted by Kiev and its masters, does not change from this,” Zakharova concluded.

Ukraine’s Western backers insist that a peace settlement can only be achieved on Kiev’s terms and have vowed to continue weapons deliveries for “as long as it takes.” Russia, meanwhile, has stressed that no amount of foreign aid will change the course of the conflict.

Peace negotiations between Moscow and Kiev were held in the spring of 2022, but broke down with both sides accusing each other of making unrealistic demands.

Russian President Vladimir Putin subsequently said the Ukrainian delegation had initially agreed with some of Russia’s terms during the talks in Istanbul that March, but then abruptly reneged on the deal.

The Kremlin has repeatedly stressed that it remains open to meaningful discussions and has blamed the lack of a diplomatic breakthrough on the Ukrainian authorities.

 

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