Ukraine extends peace hand, seeks Russian participation in potential follow-up peace summit

Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, revealed that Kyiv is actively working to involve Russia in a prospective follow-up summit.

Ukrainian officials have extended an unexpected overture to Russia, expressing hope that the Kremlin would participate in a potential second round of peace talks aimed at resolving the devastating conflict. This outreach comes just days before the inaugural Ukraine Peace Summit in Switzerland, which Moscow has already rebuffed attending.

Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, revealed that Kyiv is actively working to involve Russia in a prospective follow-up summit. The ambitious goal is to jointly present a comprehensive roadmap supported by a broad coalition of nations, one that could pave the way for a resolution to the crisis that has upended regional stability and caused immense human suffering.

Yermak cited the bad experience of previous negotiation attempts with Russia before its full-scale invasion of Ukrainian territory in February 2022. He underscored that this renewed endeavour requires a comprehensive platform rooted in international law and backed by a global consensus from the very outset to have any chance of success.

The Ukrainian overture comes as Switzerland prepares to host government representatives from over 160 countries and international organizations this weekend at the scenic Burgenstock resort complex. While Russia has declined the invitation extended by Bern, Kyiv aims to leverage the gathering to draft an internationally agreed framework for engaging both warring parties in future peace negotiations.

The gambit has already sparked a flurry of reactions, with some analysts lauding the move as a pragmatic attempt to break the diplomatic relations, while others have voiced scepticism over Russia’s inclination to participate in good faith. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov swiftly dismissed the idea, stating that Russia would not take part in the summit of illegitimate intentions.

Nonetheless, Ukrainian officials remain resolute in their pursuit of a negotiated solution, buoyed by the belief that a plan endorsed by a formidable coalition of nations would be very difficult to dispute for the Kremlin.

As the prospects of diplomatic breakthroughs remain uncertain amid the entrenched animosity and bloodshed, Ukraine’s unexpected overture underscores its desire to pursue a negotiated settlement, albeit one built upon a united international front rather than a fragmented approach. By seeking to involve Russia in a potential second summit, Kyiv appears to be testing the waters for Moscow’s willingness to engage in substantive talks backed by global consensus.