Russia calls Ukraine peace meetings ‘pointless’, says plan can’t succeed

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 16, 2024. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Published January 17, 2024

Russia said Tuesday that it was increasingly apparent to the world that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s plan to resolve the nearly two-year war had no hope of succeeding and dismissed meetings devoted to it as “pointless and harmful.”

The fourth in a series of meetings bringing together officials from several dozen countries – but not Russia – was held this week in Davos. A commentary on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website said the meeting had exposed differences between participants and produced no increase in support for the proposals.

“There is a growing understanding that no overall, fair, and sustainable peace can be achieved by focusing on the ultimatum of the ‘Zelenskiy formula,’” the commentary said.

“All such meetings … including the Davos gathering and those to follow it, are pointless and harmful for settling the Ukrainian crisis.”

Russia is pointedly not invited to the meetings centered on Zelenskiy’s peace plan, which calls for the withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukraine, recognition of its 1991 post-Soviet borders, and a mechanism to bring Moscow to account.

Zelenskiy has ruled out talks with Moscow while Russian troops remain there. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday, he urged the West to tighten sanctions pressure on Moscow and to step up support for Kyiv.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Ukraine’s statehood could suffer an “irreparable blow” if the pattern of the war continued and that Russia would never be forced to abandon the gains it had made in its military campaign.



RELATED: ‘Perfectly understandable’: Russia’s neighbors back Ukraine’s refusal to negotiate on peace talks

President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda.
Published January 16, 2024

Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, on Tuesday described Ukraine’s refusal to cede ground to Russia in prospective peace talks as “perfectly understandable.”

Speaking to CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Duda restated his support for his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, following stunted peace formula talks to which Russia was not a party.

“It’s no wonder that the Ukrainian authorities won’t speak to [Russian President] Vladimir Putin today because they were clear from the start,” Duda told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick.

“To me, as the president of Poland, it’s perfectly understandable. It’s clear,” he said.

A meeting of national security advisors on Sunday made little headway in resolving the Russia-Ukraine conflict after Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, reiterated Kyiv’s resolute commitment to its 10-point peace formula.

Included in its stipulations are the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, including land seized during Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, as well as the withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukraine.

Duda, one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies and a border neighbor, commended Kyiv’s unwavering position since the onset of the war, and said that the conflict would only end with Moscow’s full retreat. Russia, for its part, has objected to such demands.

“They attacked an independent sovereign nation, so I’m not surprised President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and those who work with him are clear about the end of the war,” Duda said.

“The war will come to an end when we’ve driven Russians out of all Ukrainian occupied territories. For me this is obvious,” he added.



RELATED: More countries join talks on Ukraine leader’s peace formula. But Russia is absent and war grinds on

Published January 15, 2024

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — Leaders of talks on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s peace formula on Sunday said a growing number of countries are working to help set the groundwork for Russia to join one day, an admittedly distant goal as the nearly two-year war grinds on and with neither side willing to cede ground.

The fourth such meeting of national security advisers was held in the Swiss town of Davos, where Zelenskyy is set to attend the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting starting Tuesday. He will endeavor to keep up international focus on Ukraine’s defense amid eroding support for Kyiv in the West and swelling distractions like conflict in the Middle East.

Andriy Yermak, the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, posted photos of the meeting’s opening and hailed a “good sign” that the number of participants in a string of conferences on Zelenskyy’s peace formula was growing — nearly half from Europe, as well as 18 from Asia and 12 from Africa.

“Countries from the Global South are increasingly getting involved in our work. It shows understanding that this European conflict is in fact a challenge for all humanity,” he wrote.

Zelenskyy has presented a 10-point peace formula that, among other things, seeks the expulsion of all Russian forces from Ukraine and accountability for war crimes — at a time when the two sides are fighting from largely static positions along a roughly 1,500-kilometer (930-mile) front line. Such ideas are rejected out of hand by Moscow.

Yermak said that if Ukraine’s territorial integrity — now violated by Russia including through illegal annexations — isn’t restored, “soon other aggressors elsewhere in the world will be able to seize parts of other countries and start staging fake elections there.”

At a final news conference, Yermak said the purpose of the meeting — the last in a series — was to discuss issues like an eventual Russian withdrawal, a path to justice, environmental security and ultimately how the war might be declared over.

He said that no allies had ever asked Ukraine to make any compromise, “which they know is not acceptable for us,” and it would never accept a “frozen conflict.”

“For all Ukrainians, the most important (thing) is to win this war,” he said. Earlier in a statement from the Ukrainian presidency, Yermak said a simple cease-fire wouldn’t end Russia’s “aggression” on Ukraine: “It’s definitely not the path to peace. The Russians do not want peace. They want domination.”





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