West’s ‘secret meeting’ on Ukraine a PR stunt – Moscow
The reported “secret meeting” to discuss a Ukrainian peace plan in Saudi Arabia last month was merely an attempt by Kiev and the West to maintain attention on the conflict with Moscow amid growing fatigue, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said.
The gathering took place in mid-December in Riyadh, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov mentioned the event in an interview he gave the same month, without naming the host nation.
Bloomberg sources described the meeting as making “no major progress,” while some nations that had participated in previous talks did not attend, most notably China, Brazil, and the United Arab Emirates.
Zakharova dismissed the significance of the gathering, to which Russia was not invited, as irrelevant for the conflict with Kiev. Instead, it was aimed only at propping up Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and his “regime” as part of a Western-advised PR campaign, she claimed in an interview with Radio Sputnik on Wednesday.
Zelensky previously appeared at numerous major Western gatherings, including ones unrelated to politics, Zakharova pointed out. Even “Michael Jackson and Britney Spears would have envied” his public profile, according to the diplomat. However, organizers of events such as the Emmy and Grammy Awards – which previously agreed to broadcast Zelensky’s addresses to their audiences – have since grown tired of the Ukrainian leader, she claimed. According to Zakharova, this means Zelensky’s team has shifted to other forms of self-promotion, including its ‘peace formula’ for the conflict with Russia.
First unveiled in November 2022, the Ukrainian proposal demands that Kiev be given control over its pre-2014 borders, while calling for the prosecution of the Russian leadership and reparations from Moscow. Other demands include less contentious areas such as global food and energy security.
Moscow considers the proposal to be detached from reality, and believes the US and its allies merely want nations from the Global South to back the neutral parts of the proposal at the very least. Ukraine could then claim growing global support for the core of its demands, Zakharova said.
However, the diplomat expressed doubt that Kiev’s approach would bear fruit, telling Radio Sputnik: “No adventurous project, no matter how well-funded or long-term, will be able to keep the world’s attention at a level that the West requires for Ukraine.”