Russia will never participate in Switzerland’s conference on Ukraine

Global South, Russian interests, Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry
Image: TASS

Responding to a question about the upcoming conference in Switzerland on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, “Russia will never participate in Switzerland’s conference on Ukraine even if officially invited”.

Maria Zakharova was asked, “The information has appeared in the media that a high-level international conference on peace in Ukraine is being prepared in Switzerland, to which Russia is allegedly going to be invited. How does this forum correlate with the meetings on the Ukrainian ‘peace formula’ in Copenhagen, Jeddah, Valletta and Davos? Will Russian representatives take part in it if they receive an invitation?”

In response, she also explained why Russia shall not participate in Switzerland’s conference, stating:

Firstly, this forum will be dedicated to the promotion of [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky’s ‘peace formula’ of ultimatum, although its Swiss organizers pretend that they are looking for a common denominator of peace initiatives of different countries. Let me remind you the meaning of the ‘formula’. Its authors took three ultimatums – the withdrawal of Russian troops to the 1991 borders, bringing Moscow to justice and forcing it to pay reparations – and added to them provisions on food, nuclear safety, energy, environment and humanitarian problems that are attractive to the countries of the Global South.

The meetings you mentioned in Copenhagen, Jeddah, Valletta and Davos showed that this trick did not work. Now, in order to expand the circle of supporters of Zelensky’s ‘formula’, they are trying to saturate it with provisions from the peace initiatives of China, Brazil, and African countries. At the same time, the three basic ultimatums remain in place, while the legitimate Russian interests are ignored.

Thus, the upcoming conference is a mere continuation of the Copenhagen format meetings, which discredited themselves from the start and have now reached a stalemate.

Secondly, Switzerland can hardly serve as a venue for various peacemaking efforts, as this implies a neutral status, which Bern has lost. It has been taking an openly pro-Ukrainian position, voting in favor of anti-Russian resolutions, considering the seizure of our frozen assets, joining illegal anti-Russian sanctions, and hosting meetings under the Zelensky formula. Finally, in January 2023 the Swiss foreign policy strategy saw a new provision saying that the European security system should be built not with Russia, but ‘against Russia’.

These actions are incompatible with mediation services.

Thirdly, the experience of the Minsk agreements and the Russian-Ukrainian negotiations in 2022 has shown the incapacity of Kyiv and the West to honor agreements. In all these cases, what they needed was not peace, but a truce after the defeats of the Ukrainian armed forces in order to build up Ukraine’s military potential and continue fighting. Obviously, the same thing is happening now.

All of this makes Russia’s participation in the aforementioned ‘peace conference’ pointless – no matter whether it is held in one, two or five stages. Its ultimatum substance, promoted by Kyiv and its masters, remains unchanged. We are convinced that our partners in Asia, Africa and Latin America understand the real intentions of its organizers and will not tolerate to be drawn into yet another anti-Russian misfortune.

For its part, Russia remains open to talks on the peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. However, any serious proposals for talks should be preceded by Zelensky’s revocation of his decree banning the possibility of negotiations with Russia, a halt to arms supplies to Ukraine and clear signals of readiness to take into account present realities and Russia’s legitimate interests. A language of ultimatums in unacceptable for Russia.


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