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Switzerland to host Ukraine peace summit on June 15-16

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The Swiss government will host a two-day high-level conference in June aimed at achieving peace in Ukraine, it said on Wednesday, although Russia has made clear it will not take part in the initiative.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is greeted by members of the Swiss National Council on Monday, January 15, 2024 in the Federal Palace, the Bundeshaus, in Bern, Switzerland. Keystone/Alessandro Della Valle/Pool via Reuters

The Swiss government will host a two-day high-level conference in June aimed at achieving peace in Ukraine, it said on Wednesday, although Russia has made clear it will not take part in the initiative.

Switzerland said in January it would host a peace summit at the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and has since held talks with the EU, G7 member states and countries such as China and India to garner their support.

"There is currently sufficient international support for a high-level conference to launch the peace process," the Federal Council said in a statement.

The conference will be held June 15-16 at the Bürgenstock resort in the canton of Nidwalden outside the city of Lucerne. It will aim to create a framework favourable to a comprehensive and lasting peace in Ukraine as well as "a concrete roadmap for Russia's participation in the peace process."

While Moscow has said it is not against negotiations to end the war, Russian officials have said they will not take part in talks in Switzerland, a country they consider to have relinquished its neutrality with regard to the conflict.

Russia, which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, has said the Swiss initiative is pointless without Moscow's participation.

Swiss authorities have yet to disclose a full list of participants.

After two years of war, Russia holds just under a fifth of Ukraine's territory and accuses Kyiv's Western supporters of using Ukraine as a theatre to fight Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly said it is open to talks, but that these must recognise the "new realities on the ground".

Ukraine demands the restoration of its territorial integrity and a full withdrawal of Russian forces as conditions for peace.

By Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber

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