What to know about the upcoming Swiss summit on Ukraine's peace plan

Switzerland will host a summit on June 15-16 that aims to build broad international support for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s peace proposals, which include the full withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, but Moscow has not been invited.

With Russia’s invasion well into its third year and Kyiv’s forces under increased pressure on the front lines, 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.

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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 organizations 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 organizations 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.

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 prioritize 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.

Zelenskiy first announced his 10-point peace formula at a summit of the Group of 20 major economies in November 2022. It also includes restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity, a total withdrawal of Russian troops and the establishment of a special tribunal to prosecute 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.

During 2022 and 2023, separate peace initiatives were announced by China, the Vatican and a group of African countries, but also to no avail.

In September 2022, Zelenskiy signed a decree banning any talks with Putin. Ukrainian officials have stood by their position that peace talks with Russia will only be possible when Moscow withdraws its forces from occupied Ukrainian territory.

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