Zelensky accused Russia of helping to sabotage the Ukraine peace conference

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of helping to derail a peace conference on the upcoming war in Ukraine.

Speaking at Asia’s premier security conference in Singapore, Mr Zelensky accused Russia of using Chinese diplomats in the wider Asian region to influence and dissuade countries from participating in the June 15 and 16 peace summit at the Burgenstock Resort in central Switzerland. .

“Russia is doing everything to destabilize the peace summit, using Chinese influence in the region and Chinese diplomats,” Mr Zelensky told a news conference at the Shangri-La Security Forum. “It is regrettable to be a tool in the hands of a great independent power like China [Russian leader Vladimir] Putin.”

He added that such actions “are not just support for Russia … it is support for war.”

Mr Zelensky said the Ukraine summit had proposed nuclear security, food security, the release of prisoners of war and the return of Ukrainian children abducted by Russia as a basis for peace. “Time is running out, children are growing up in a Putin-land that teaches them to hate their homeland,” he said.

He said that Ukraine is “ready to listen to various plans and ideas that will lead us to an end to the war and a sustainable and just peace” and that Ukraine’s biggest participation in the summit will be Russia. I want to hear, he said.

In Mr Zelensky’s second trip to Asia since Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the comments about China mark a more aggressive approach towards Beijing from the Ukrainian leader. He had previously tried to persuade China to pressure Moscow to end its war.

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Since a phone call a year ago between Mr Zelensky and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Ukrainian administration has sought meetings with Chinese officials at all levels. But on Sunday, Mr Zelensky said it had not been granted.

China's defense minister, Admiral Dong Jun, at the same briefing as Mr Zelensky, denied Beijing supported Russia's war effort.
China’s defense minister, Admiral Dong Jun, at the same briefing as Mr Zelensky, denied Beijing supported Russia’s war effort. (EPA)

Ukraine and Switzerland had hoped China would attend the summit later this month, but on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning signaled that was unlikely. China has called for a peace conference with equal participation by all parties, including Russia.

“There is still a clear gap between the arrangements for the meeting and the demands of the Chinese side and the general expectations of the international community,” Ms Mao said at the time. “This makes it difficult for China to participate. meeting.”

It was another blow to the summit after it was announced last month that US President Joe Biden would skip the event to attend a campaign rally in California ahead of November’s presidential election.

China maintains a neutral stance in the war in Ukraine, but its trade with Russia has grown over the past two and a half years, easing the economic impact of Western sanctions.

U.S., Ukrainian and other intelligence agencies say there is evidence that Chinese parts are intercepting Russian weapons, even if China does not directly arm its neighbors.

Grant Shapps, the UK defense secretary, said there was evidence that China was providing “contrary assistance” to Russia, in comments that appeared to be references to weapons.

Earlier on Sunday, Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun told attendees at the Shangri-La Dialogue that his country was “promoting peace talks with a responsible approach”.

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He added: “We are not supplying arms to either side of the conflict.” We have imposed strict restrictions on the export of dual-use items and have done nothing to fan the flames. We stand firmly on the side of peace and dialogue.

However, Mr Zelensky said China’s support for Russia would ensure “the war lasts longer”, which he said was “bad for the whole world”.

“[China] Can’t say that [they] Accept the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and at the same time side with the country that violates the principles of the United Nations Charter and the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” he said. He added that the two countries did not meet at the weekend summit in Singapore.

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