Can Ukraine peace summit achieve anything without Russia’s participation?

Representatives from 90 countries, including Canada, are expected to gather in Switzerland this weekend for a Swiss-hosted Ukraine peace summit — without Russia’s involvement — that organizers hope will “inspire” a path toward peace.

Moscow has said it won’t participate in any negotiations based on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s peace proposals, which Russia rejects. And some of Russia’s key allies, namely China, have said they won’t take part in talks that don’t include Russia.

How are Canada, U.S. participating?

Can anything of substance be achieved?

Russia-Ukraine war: NATO leaders meet as Ukraine seeks easing of western weapons restrictions

That message may land flat if it’s not backed up with action on the battlefield itself, Volker and other experts and analysts say, including removing restrictions on where Ukraine can strike within Russian territory and providing Kyiv with stronger weapons and capabilities.

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The U.S. late last month said it would allow Ukraine to only strike Russian assets across the border from Kharkiv to stem an onslaught of the major northern city.

An analysis from the Institute for the Study of War, a U.S. think tank, said that limited policy change still leaves close to 85 per cent of Moscow’s military forces and infrastructure — all of which are in range of U.S.-provided long-range weapons — free to continue threatening Ukraine from within Russia.

Russia has bombarded Kharkiv and other cities across Ukraine with missile attacks targeting energy infrastructure, while its troops are mounting new offensives in the east to take advantage of the delays in western military aid reaching Ukraine’s army.

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“The only way to get Russia to stop its aggression is for them to realize they’re going to lose, that they’ll be defeated on the ground and it will damage Russia considerably if they keep this up,” Volker said.

“Then a negotiation can be useful to put (post-war) terms in writing. But until that point, a summit is not going to achieve anything to actually bring about peace.”

Speaking in Germany on Tuesday, Zelenskyy said the fact it was even happening was a result, as it was becoming harder to keep countries onside as war drags on.

“It is important not to hand over (the initiative) … to Russia,” he said. “Because the Russian initiative had been demonstrated on the day of the full-scale invasion. Their vision is the occupation of our country.”

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— with files from The Associated Press and Reuters


: World