Russia’s BRICS partners refuse to sign Ukraine peace summit declaration

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Summit on Peace in Ukraine, 16 June 2024. Photo: ALESSANDRO DELLA VALLE / POOL

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Summit on Peace in Ukraine, 16 June 2024. Photo: ALESSANDRO DELLA VALLE / POOL

Twelve of the 92 countries attending the two-day Swiss Summit on Peace in Ukraine this weekend chose not to sign the final communiqué, Sky News reported Sunday.

Both Russia and China were absent from the summit, which was called to facilitate the international community mapping out a peace plan for Ukraine. Several countries with close ties to Russia, including fellow BRICS members, Brazil, India and South Africa, were among the countries that declined to sign the final communiqué. Other less clearly aligned nations that chose to abstain included Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the summit for allowing “a fruitful, comprehensive and constructive exchange of various views on pathways towards a framework for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace”, adding that the parties had agreed on common approaches to three main issues.

First, control of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant should pass back in full to Ukraine and that any threat or use of nuclear weapons is unacceptable.

Second, food security must not be used as a weapon, and Ukrainian access to its Black Sea ports must be restored to allow Ukraine to freely export its agricultural products to the rest of the world.

Finally, all prisoners of war on both sides must be released, and all Ukrainian children transported to Russia as well as other civilians being held illegally must be returned to Ukraine.

Speaking at a press conference at the end of the summit, Zelensky said that Ukraine was ready to begin negotiations with Russia “tomorrow” if Moscow respected Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Zelensky went on to say that Russia’s presence at a second peace summit, which could take place in the coming months, would show Moscow wanted peace and had decided to end the war. “Whether Russia wants it or whether the world community forces its hand is not important to us. The result is important to us — the end of this war,” Zelensky said.

Delegations from 92 states attended the summit, with 57 countries represented by national leaders, including Germany, the UK, France, the Netherlands and Poland. The US was represented by Vice President Kamala Harris.

On the eve of the summit, Vladimir Putin proposed his own peace plan, which includes the withdrawal of all Ukrainian troops from the entirety of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions, despite the fact that Russia does not have full control over any of these territories.

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