China needed for peace process after Davos meeting, Ukraine says

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By Blegug Nan

China needs to be involved in talks to end the war with Russia, Ukraine’s top representative said after a high-level diplomatic meeting ahead of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak said on Sunday it was important that Russian ally China was at the table when Kyiv convenes further meetings on its peace formula.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang will lead a delegation in Davos this week. Asked if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would meet Li, Yermak told a news briefing “let’s see”, adding he had not seen the Ukrainian president’s final agenda.

China needed for peace process after Davos meeting, Ukraine says
Swiss President Viola Amherd, right, welcomes Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang and his delegation upon their arrival at Zurich Airport in Switzerland on Sunday. Photo: EPA-EFE

Zelensky is expected to arrive in Bern, Switzerland on Monday to meet the President of the Swiss Confederation Viola Amherd.

Swiss Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, who attended Sunday’s discussions, told an earlier news conference: “We must do everything to end this war.”

“China plays a significant role. We must find ways to work with China on this,” Cassis said, adding that both Russia and Ukraine were not willing to make concessions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022, triggering the biggest confrontation between Russia and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Cassis said countries that had a dialogue with Russia, such as Brazil, India and South Africa, were involved in the Davos discussions and could play an important role.

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A European Union official said Ukraine’s Western partners had expressed unequivocal support for Kyiv and its peace plans, with a call on the Global South nations to make clear to Russia the importance of respecting the United Nations charter and its core principles in the interest of global security.

The role of the Global South in Ukraine’s peace formula talks has come into focus in the lead up to Davos. Many of the non-aligned countries from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia which have largely stayed on the sidelines over Ukraine will be represented in the Swiss mountain resort.

The EU official said the Global South partners had generally expressed empathy with the fate of Ukrainians. Some highlighted the need for engaging with Russia’s concerns.

Yermak said no one had asked him about any compromise over territory during Sunday’s meeting.

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“Countries from the Global South are increasingly involved in our work,” Yermak said earlier on his Telegram account.

Ukraine, with strong backing from its allies, has consistently said it will not give up until it has reclaimed every piece of territory that Russia has taken.

It is unclear, however, if countries in the Global South agree with that as a peace formula.

Nigeria’s national security adviser Nuhu Ribadu said the African oil producer stood by Zelensky’s side, saying it will deal with the consequences of rising food prices.

The logo of the World Economic Forum ahead of the annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland on Sunday. Photo: Reuters.

The talks were also attended by the US special representative for Ukraine’s Economic Recovery Penny Pritzker, as well as James O’Brien, the US assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs.

As concerns grow about continuing US support for the war in Ukraine during an election year, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are both expected to address the WEF, which officially starts on Monday evening.

Zelensky’s 10-point peace plan calls for the withdrawal of Russian troops and cessation of hostilities and the restoration of Ukraine’s state borders with Russia.

Russia, which controls a little under a fifth of Ukrainian territory, has dismissed Zelensky’s “peace formula” as absurd as it aims to find peace without Moscow’s participation.

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