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Jun 17, 2024, 1:25pm EDT
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Semafor Signals

Ukraine summit ends without support from key powers for peace communique

Insights from Foreign Affairs and Responsible Statecraft

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Michael Buholzer/Pool via Reuters
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The News

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared last weekend’s inaugural peace summit in Switzerland a success, but several key global powers, including China, India, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia, did not sign the agreement reached by a majority of participants that Russia’s war in Ukraine must end with a “just and lasting peace” that upholds Kyiv’s territorial integrity. China refused to attend altogether, citing Moscow’s exclusion from the talks.

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Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

China may be trying to commandeer negotiations

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Sources:  
Reuters, Foreign Affairs

Ukraine heralded China’s involvement in international talks to end the war last year as a “significant breakthrough” — but Beijing’s refusal to attend this month’s peace summit shows it has adopted an ambitious-but-risky strategy of “sabotaging Western-led peace proposals” in a bid to eventually use its leverage over Moscow and take charge of peace negotiations, the director of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center argued in Foreign Affairs. Putin’s recent comments about China’s diplomatic sincerity suggest he may have struck a deal with Xi Jinping to come to the negotiating table if called on by Beijing in exchange for its absence from the Swiss summit, but it’s unlikely that China’s efforts to spearhead the war’s end will materialize.

Peace may not be any closer — with or without China’s involvement

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Source:  
Responsible Statecraft

Swiss organizers described the summit as a “conference for peace, not a peace conference.” But the event was neither really a summit, nor really about peace, policy analyst Anatol Lieven argued in Responsible Statecraft: China’s non-attendance reflects a recognition that Kyiv’s terms for peace are “completely non-viable even as initial negotiating positions.” Ukraine is unlikely to recover significant portions of the land it has lost to Russia, Lieven wrote, and much of the Global South believes that the US’ support for Israel in the face of Gaza’s humanitarian crisis means it has forfeited any credibility to take a stance against Russia.

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