Switzerland Hosts Ukraine Summit Without Russia, Diplomatic Challenges Ahead

Switzerland is hosting a significant summit this weekend aimed at addressing the ongoing conflict in Ukraine despite Russia’s absence. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government intentionally excluded Russia from the conference, but Swiss organizers argue that Moscow’s involvement will eventually be necessary for any lasting peace agreement.

Scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at the Buergenstock Resort overlooking Lake Lucerne, the summit is seen as a symbolic effort by Ukraine to gather international support against Russian military actions. However, the absence of Russia raises fundamental questions about how effective the summit can be in achieving tangible progress toward peace.

Approximately 90 delegations are expected to attend, including representatives from major European nations like France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, as well as international organizations such as the United Nations.

Switzerland Hosts Ukraine Summit
Switzerland will Hosts Ukraine Summit

Among the notable absentees are U.S. President Joe Biden, who dispatched Vice President Kamala Harris and national security adviser Jake Sullivan instead, and China, a key ally of Russia that believes both Moscow and Kyiv should be involved in peace talks.

The summit aims to produce an outcome document or joint plan supported by the participating countries, centered around Ukraine’s 10-point peace formula proposed by Zelenskyy.

This formula outlines steps such as the withdrawal of Russian troops, cessation of hostilities, and restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, including Crimea. However, contentious issues like Ukraine’s neutral status and the status of occupied territories are not expected to be on the immediate agenda due to Russia’s absence.

Despite skepticism about the summit’s potential outcomes, participants hope to reaffirm support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and discuss issues of nuclear safety, humanitarian aid, and global food security.

These topics are seen as areas where consensus can be more easily achieved among international stakeholders, although they fall short of addressing the core geopolitical issues that require Moscow’s involvement.

Looking ahead, experts emphasize the importance of Ukraine’s capitalizing on the summit to garner continued international support, even if immediate agreements on complex issues remain elusive.

The summit is viewed as part of a broader diplomatic effort to shape the contours of a potential peace agreement, similar to historical precedents where discussions precede formal cessation of hostilities.

While the Switzerland summit symbolizes Ukraine’s diplomatic push to rally global solidarity against Russian aggression, its effectiveness in achieving concrete progress on the conflict hinges on future inclusion of Russia in negotiations. The gathering underscores international divisions over the conflict’s resolution and the challenges of forging consensus in the absence of key stakeholders.

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