Home Europe Swiss Summit To Seek Russia’s Withdrawal From Ukraine

Swiss Summit To Seek Russia’s Withdrawal From Ukraine


Switzerland is set to host a summit on June 15-16 designed to gather widespread international backing for the peace proposals of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. These proposals call for the complete withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine. However, Moscow has not been invited to participate in the summit.

With Russia’s invasion well into its third year and Kyiv’s forces under increased pressure on the frontlines, Zelenskiy hopes to put Ukraine’s plight firmly back in the diplomatic spotlight after months of heavy global focus on the Gaza war.

The summit, which will take place at an Alpine resort near Lucerne, is intended to create a framework for lasting peace and a roadmap for Russia’s eventual participation in the process.

Russia has dismissed the initiative as a waste of time. China, which has moved closer to Russia since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb 24, 2022, has said it will also not attend the summit, to Kyiv’s disappointment.


Zelenskiy’s office said that 107 countries and international organisations had confirmed by early June their participation, including Ukraine’s Western allies and countries from South America, Africa and the Middle East. Kyiv has sent invitations to some 160 capitals and organisations in total.

Ukraine’s main ally the United States will be represented but has not said whether President Joe Biden will attend. Zelenskiy has said Russian President Vladimir Putin will be delighted if Biden misses the summit.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the summit would be “absolutely futile” without Russia’s participation.

Kyiv decided against inviting Russia because it does not trust Moscow, whose invasion has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people, uprooted millions more and devastated Ukrainian towns and cities. Russian forces currently control about 18% of Ukrainian territory.

Ukraine has said Moscow could be invited to a future summit to discuss an end to its invasion, but on Kyiv’s terms.

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Zelenskiy, who had lobbied China hard to take part, accused Beijing this week of helping Moscow to undermine the summit. China’s Foreign Ministry denied the accusation.


Serhiy Nikiforov, the presidential spokesperson, said the talks, building on Zelenskiy’s 10-point peace formula, would prioritise three key themes – food security, nuclear safety and the release of all prisoners and deportees.

“Precisely these three points have potential to unite countries with different views,” Nikiforov told Ukrainian TV.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy introduced his 10-point peace plan at the G20 summit in November 2022. The plan includes measures such as restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the complete withdrawal of Russian troops, and the creation of a special tribunal to prosecute alleged Russian war crimes.

Kyiv expects a communique on the results of the summit to be issued.


The first talks between Ukraine and Russia took place in the early days of Russia’s invasion. The delegations met in Belarus and then in March, 2022 in Istanbul, but broke down.

Throughout 2022 and 2023, several peace initiatives were proposed by different parties, including China, the Vatican, and a group of African countries, but none successfully ended the conflict. In September 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy issued a decree that prohibited any negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ukrainian officials have consistently maintained that peace talks with Russia can only commence once Russian forces have fully withdrawn from the Ukrainian territories they occupy.

With Inputs From Reuters