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10 Jun, 2024 15:17

Russia thanks China for skipping Ukraine ‘peace conference’

Beijing has said it would not send a delegation to the event because it will not involve a fair discussion of all proposals
Russia thanks China for skipping Ukraine ‘peace conference’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has praised China’s decision to not attend the Swiss-hosted Ukraine peace summit set to begin later this week, officials in Moscow have said. 

Russia has criticized the conference – which it said it has no plans to attend – arguing that the event is dedicated to promoting Vladimir Zelensky’s peace formula and imposing an “ultimatum” on Russia.

In a statement on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Lavrov expressed gratitude to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Chinese colleagues for their “balanced and consistent line on the crisis around Ukraine,” including Beijing’s decision not to send a delegation to the ‘peace conference’ near Lake Lucerne scheduled to take place June 15-16. 

The ministry added that the event does not include “Russia’s participation on equal terms and fair consideration of all peace initiatives and the current reality.”

China confirmed earlier this month that it has no plans to attend the summit. Its Foreign Ministry argued that it lacks “three important elements” – recognition of the event by both Moscow and Kiev, equal participation of all sides, and a fair discussion of all peace proposals. 

The ministry stressed that Beijing’s decision not to send a delegation to Switzerland does not mean it no longer supports peace between Russia and Ukraine.

Ukraine has for months been promoting Zelensky’s ten-point ‘peace formula’ which demands that Russia withdraw from all territory Kiev claims as its own and for a tribunal to be set up to prosecute Russian officials for alleged war crimes. Moscow has dismissed the initiative as “detached from reality.” 

Zelensky said last month that the Swiss-hosted summit would focus only on three points of Kiev’s plan, including prisoner exchanges, as well as nuclear and food security. He also opposed Russia’s presence at the conference, saying it would enable Moscow to derail Ukraine’s diplomatic efforts.

Lavrov said last month that the sole purpose of the event is to impose an ultimatum on Russia. He added that the meeting completely ignores other peace initiatives, while Switzerland – which has joined the Western sanctions on Russia – has lost its neutral status.

Moscow maintains that it is open to talks. However, Zelensky signed a decree banning all negotiations with the current Russian leadership after four former Ukrainian regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia in autumn 2022.