Ukraine: The Vain Road To Peace

Ukraine: The Vain Road To Peace

A few months after the beginning of the Russian invasion, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky announced a 10-point peace plan. Since then, Kiev has been lobbying Western governments and international institutions into publicly backing the Ukrainian proposal. In June 2023, a small number of countries met in Copenhagen to discuss the viability of a path towards peace based on Zelensky’s proposal. A second meeting was held a few weeks later in Jeddah. This time a larger number of countries, especially from the Global South, were invited to the meeting. Similarly to the Copenhagen meeting, the main takeaway of the Jeddah summit was that yet another conference needed to be held to yield something tangible. In October 2023, the national security advisors of 65 countries participated in a closed-door meeting in Malta. The goal was to garner support for Kiev from beyond the West. However, the main difference between this meeting and the two previous ones was the increasing number of participants. In other words, there was no real progress in terms of consensus building. One day before the 2024 WEF in Davos, which was held in January, security officials from over 80 countries, mostly Western, met to discuss a blueprint for peace in Ukraine. The summit failed to generate significant support from countries of the Global South. The very next day, Swiss President Viola Amherd announced that her country was planning on hosting a global peace summit.

Last weekend, the conference was held, with delegates from over 90 countries participating. Perhaps unsurprisingly at this point, nothing significant came out of the meeting. Countries of the Global South were not rushing to throw their weight behind Kiev, and there was still no realistic roadmap to peace in Ukraine. The summit’s communiqué, which was not the result of overwhelming consensus, vaguely called for full withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian land, guarantees for nuclear safety, securing food supplies, the repatriation of all prisoners of war, ensuring justice for war crimes, protecting the environment, and preventing further escalation.

Why are these diplomatic talks so futile? And, what is the Russian perspective on peace in Ukraine?