Aug 7, 2023, 9:59am EDT
Middle East

The outcome of the Russia-Ukraine peace talks in Saudi Arabia

Representatives from China, the U.S., and Saudi Arabia attend talks to make a headway towards a peaceful end to Russia's war in Ukraine, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, August 6, 2023.
Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS

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The News

Representatives from over 40 countries met in Saudi Arabia over the weekend to convene talks aimed at ending the war between Russia and Ukraine.

We’ve curated reporting and insights about whether the peace talks were productive towards ending the conflict.

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  • The talks, which Russia was reportedly not invited to, ended with few tangible strategies for ending the war, Bloomberg reported. The officials did make plans to form “working groups” focused on the different parts of Ukraine’s “peace formula,” including nuclear security. Right now, there’s no prospect for direct peace talks between Ukraine and Russia.
  • China, a strong partner to Russia, attended the talks, which was seen as an encouraging development to other participants. The “mere presence of China shows Russia is more and more isolated,” a European diplomat told the FT. It was a smart move for China to engage with U.S. and European leaders, supporting their message that they are pushing for peace, said Alexander Gabuev, a leading Russia-China expert. But Gabuev hasn’t seen evidence that China’s attendance will lead to any concrete actions toward ending the war.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s goal with the talks was to garner international support for his peace formula, which includes affirming Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Such consensus helps Ukraine as it continues grinding Russia’s forces down, but that doesn’t mean we should expect Russia to come to the negotiating table anytime soon. “Ukraine’s backers will have to understand that ejecting Russia is turning out to be a grinding war of attrition. ... Get ready for a long haul.” — The Economist