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Zelensky urges China to attend peace summit in Switzerland

Zelensky urges China to attend peace summit in Switzerland

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in an interview with AFP on Friday urged China and countries of the Global South to participate in a peace summit in Switzerland next month.

The Swiss government announced that it would host a high-level peace conference for Ukraine in mid-June, but said Russia would not attend.

Uncertainty surrounds the presence of China, which has said “a lot of work” would need to be done before the conference.

Chinese leaders believe that “if Russia loses the war… it is a victory for the United States,” Zelensky said.

“It’s a victory for the West, and they want to find a balance between the two… That’s why I would like to see China involved in the peace summit.”

His comments came as Russian President Vladimir Putin visited China this week for talks in which the leaders framed their nations’ ties as a stabilising force in a chaotic world.

China says it is a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict and has sought to play a mediator role.

But it has been criticised, like other countries particularly in the Global South, for refusing to condemn Moscow’s offensive.

Zelensky made a wider appeal for countries to send delegations to Switzerland.

“If there is no representative of your state, this is a public response that when you say that we all want peace, no, you want Russia to win.”

The Ukrainian president pointed to three issues around which consensus could be found in Switzerland.

The first, he said, was that free navigation in the Black Sea could strengthen global food security by allowing Ukrainian grain exports.

Second, he hoped for an agreement on a call to halt strikes on energy infrastructures.

Third, he advocated for the return to Ukraine of thousands of children deported to Russia, a crime for which the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Putin.

“If we come out of the summit with these three steps with the majority of countries agreeing… it means that Russia will not block them further.”