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Zelensky conference isn’t about peace – Kremlin

Talks on the Ukraine conflict, which Russia has not been invited to attend, have kicked off in Switzerland

Russia has ‘nothing to say’ to the participants of the ongoing Swiss-hosted Ukraine ‘peace conference’, which will not focus on achieving peace as Moscow’s proposals have not been included in the agenda, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Saturday.

The Kiev-sponsored event is taking place at the Burgenstock Resort in Switzerland on June 15-16, with more than 160 delegations, including those from the G7, G20, and BRICS countries, invited to the event. Russia has not been invited despite being a party to the conflict.

“We have nothing to tell them, we want to get together next time at a more substantive and promising event,” Peskov said, reiterating earlier statements that the talks cannot yield a peaceful solution to the conflict without Russia.

“The issue of peace in Ukraine is not being discussed in Switzerland. Humanitarian and quasi-humanitarian issues are being discussed in Switzerland,” he stated, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most recent proposal for a truce has been openly shunned by the participants of the summit.

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Putin’s peace offer ‘not serious’ – Scholz

Speaking at a Foreign Ministry meeting on Friday, Putin signaled that Russia would order a ceasefire and start negotiations if Kiev fulfilled several conditions: ceding all five former Ukrainian regions that voted in referendums to join Russia, including Crimea; removing troops currently present in these regions; giving up its bid to join NATO; pledging not to seek to acquire nuclear weapons, as well as “demilitarization,” “denazification,” and respect for the rights of the Russian-speaking population. To achieve a lasting peace, all of these points should be recognized at the international level and followed by the removal of Western sanctions on Russia, the president said.

Putin’s offer was immediately rejected by Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky, who called it an “ultimatum.” Western officials were also quick to criticize the proposal. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called it a ploy to distract the public from the Swiss talks, and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin claimed that Putin is “not in any position to dictate” the terms of a peace deal.

Commenting on the Western reactions to Putin’s offer, Peskov dismissed them as “not constructive.”

Russia has stated that it would not take part in the Swiss conference even if invited. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in March that the event would likely only focus on Ukraine’s positions and promote Zelensky’s so-called ‘peace formula’, which goes against Russian interests.

READ MORE: Moscow reveals next steps after Putin’s Ukraine offer

The number of countries and organizations taking part in the summit has been steadily dropping in recent days, with many invitees opting out due to the absence of a Russian delegation. The final list of attendees includes representatives from 92 countries, nearly half of the originally expected number, and eight international bodies.

June 15, 2024 at 09:06PM

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