Ukraine's president urges Putin to change language as 'world majority' wants peace

Summit can prove that return of security is 'indeed possible,' says Zelenskyy

09:49 - 16/06/2024 Sunday
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to change his language as the "world majority" wants peace.

Zelenskyy's remarks came during his official opening remarks addressing the two-day peace summit in Switzerland's Burgenstock.

"The peace formula encourages all powers to think about ending the war and to propose how to end it, and therefore, the very idea of war has already lost," he said, and added: "Putin should switch from the language of ultimatums to the language of the world majority, which wants a just peace."

Regarding what could be achieved by this summit, he said it can prove that the return of security is "indeed possible."

"We will work out the steps together," he added.

Additionally, he said, it can provide "a real plan" to make every step for peace work -- from nuclear and food security to the release of prisoners and deportees, and to the complete end of the war.

"I believe it is possible," he underlined.

He said that "there's no need to reinvent the wheel when the UN Charter already defines the foundations of peace and co-existence of people," and added: "We need to decide how countries will cooperate, who will be co-leaders to fix and implement an action plan. These are clear and achievable goals."

The president also explained Russian absence with Moscow's "lack of interest" in peace, saying: "Why? Because if Russia was interested in peace, there would be no war."

"We must decide together what a just peace means for the world and how it can be achieved in a truly lasting way. The UN Charter is the basis for us," he urged.

In contrast to Zelenskyy, host country Switzerland's President Viola Amherd, during her speech, reiterated that "a peace process without Russia is inconceivable."

- Russia is calling for 'surrender, not peace'

US Vice President Kamala Harris, for her part, recalled that Putin put forward a peace proposal on Friday, adding that: “But we must speak truth: he is not calling for negotiations, he is calling for surrender.”

Harris stressed that Russia, despite being a permanent member of the UN Security Council, “has shamelessly violated the core tenants” of the UN charter.

"If the world fails to respond when an aggressor invades its neighbor, other oppressors will undoubtedly become emboldened," she said and noted that the US stands with Ukraine "not out of charity" but for its "strategic interest."

She ensured that the US will continue supporting Ukraine and "impose costs on Russia."

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen touched on the foreign troops issue by saying: "Freezing the conflict today with foreign troops occupying Ukrainian land is not an answer."

Von der Leyen warned that this would be "a recipe for future wars of aggression."

"Instead, we need to support a comprehensive just, and sustainable peace for Ukraine," she said. "One that restores Ukraine's sovereignty and its territorial integrity."

- Russia 'chose war over diplomacy, dialogue'

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, for his part, criticized those who say "any negotiated peace must take into account Russian security concerns."

"Let us recall that before the invasion, both NATO and the US were ready to enter into a broader discussion on European security that included four relevant countries," Scholz said. The aim was to promote transparency and stability and to build trust in order to reduce the likelihood of future conflict.

"As we all know it was Russia that chose war over diplomacy and dialogue," he said.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak voiced similar remarks, saying Putin "has no interest in a genuine peace."

"He has launched a sustained diplomatic campaign against this summit ordering countries to stay away, spinning a phoney narrative about his willingness to negotiate," Sunak said and continued: "We should ask Russia why they feel so threatened by a summit discussing the basic principles of territorial integrity, food security and nuclear safety."

He stressed that to set out the principles for a just and lasting peace, based on international law and the UN Charter, states "must work with" Zelenskyy.

"That is the path to a permanent cessation of hostilities," he said. "It will show Ukraine that we'll stand by them when they are ready for negotiations."

- War 'impacts' international order

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez highlighted the global implications of the war, including the humanitarian crisis, the worsening global food crisis, the risk of a nuclear catastrophe, and most importantly, "the impact on the international order."

"Food is not a weapon. Nuclear threats are unacceptable. If we do not act according to these rules, and we do not strongly defend them, there is no international order," Sanchez said.

He also said no country can "annex the territory of another country by force."

The prime minister also hailed the "heroism and resilience" of Ukrainians and ensured that Madrid would continue supporting Kyiv "for as long as necessary."

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud stressed the importance of facilitating access to global food supplies and working to strengthen both global food and energy security.

He also drew attention to the impacts of the war on the international community and said it is a "shared burden to encourage peace and negotiation rather than further escalation."

"We will continue to lend our support to all efforts to facilitate dialogue between both parties," he said.

Finland's President Alexander Stubb called for the countries that “do not come from next to Russia” to understand "that a lot of us are worried."

He hailed the events held this week "for peace," including the G7 summit in Italy, the launching of the EU negotiations for Ukraine, and the support of NATO allies for Ukraine.

"So I think that Ukraine actually starts this path towards peace from a position of strength, much stronger than what it was three weeks ago," Stubb said.

The Finnish president also highlighted the "nature of peace," noting that it must be "a just and sustainable peace, which is based on international law and the UN Charter."

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