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Ukraine floats possibility of inviting Russia to summit

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KYIV: Ukraine and its foreign partners could invite Russia to a future peace summit to discuss an end to Moscow’s two-year-old invasion on Kyiv’s terms, a senior Ukrainian official said on Sunday.

Switzerland will host a summit to discuss a vision for peace by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which could be handed to Russia during a second meeting at a later date, said Zelensky’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak.

“There can be a situation in which we together invite representatives of the Russian Federation, where they will be presented with the plan in case whoever is representing the aggressor country at that time will want to genuinely end this war and return to a just peace,” he said during a televised conference in Kyiv.

Zelensky first announced his peace formula at a November 2022 summit of the Group of 20 major economies. It calls for restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity and a total withdrawal of Russian troops.

Says half of Western arms delivered late

Kyiv has maintained that it would not speak with Moscow until all Russian troops have left Ukrainian territory.

The Kremlin has said there is no current basis for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine and that Kyiv’s peace plan was absurd because it excluded Russia.

Arms delivery

Half of Western military aid to Kyiv is delivered later than promised, delays that hobble Kyiv’s ability to defend itself against Russian attacks and cost Ukrainian lives, the country’s Defence Minister Rustem Umerov said on Sunday.

Ukraine, which is struggling with an ammunition shortage, has for months said that Western aid is too slow to reach it and that the hold-ups have real consequences as the war against Russia enters its third year.

“At the moment, commitment does not constitute delivery,” Umerov said during a forum dedicated to the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion. “Fifty percent of commitments are not delivered on time,” he added.

Europe has admitted it will fall far short of a plan to deliver more than one million artillery shells to the country by March, instead hoping to complete the shipments by the end of the year.

He said such delays put Ukraine at a further disadvantage “in the mathematics of war” against Russia. The delayed aid will mean Kyiv will “lose people, lose territories”, especially given Russia’s “air superiority”, he added.

“We do everything possible and impossible but without timely supply it harms us,” he said.

Kyiv has in recent weeks been weakened by an ammunition shortage, with a vital US $60bn aid package blocked by political wrangling in the US Congress. Joe Biden said the hold-ups directly contributed to Ukraine being forced to withdraw from the frontline town of Avdiivka earlier in February — handing Russia its first territorial gain in almost a year.

On Sunday, Ukraine’s PM Denys Shmygal said he was “deeply convinced that the US will not abandon Ukraine in terms of financial, military and armed support”, a day after President Zelensky had pressed G7 leaders to ensure the fast delivery of weapons.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2024


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