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Ukraine Summit paves way for peace talks with Russia

Dozens of countries meeting for a landmark international summit on peace in Ukraine agreed Sunday that Kyiv should enter dialogue with Russia on ending the war, while strongly supporting Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity.

More than two years after Russia invaded, leaders and top officials from more than 90 states spent the weekend at a Swiss mountainside resort for a two-day summit dedicated to resolving the largest European conflict since World War II.

“We believe that reaching peace requires the involvement of and dialogue between all parties,” stated a final communique, supported by the vast majority of the countries that attended the summit at the Burgenstock complex overlooking Lake Lucerne.

The document also reaffirmed a commitment to the “territorial integrity of all states, including Ukraine”.

The declaration also urged a full exchange of prisoners of war and the return of deported children.

But not all attendees backed the document, with India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates among those not included in a list of supporting states displayed on screens at the summit.

After world leaders stood together to offer their support on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky voiced hope of garnering international agreement around a proposal to end the war that he could eventually present to Moscow.

Kremlin reiterates Putin call

The summit focused Sunday on food security, avoiding a nuclear disaster and returning deported children from Russia as countries outlined building blocks towards ending the war.

The summit, snubbed by Russia and its ally China, came at a point when Ukraine is struggling on the battlefield, where it is outmanned and outgunned.

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded Kyiv’s effective surrender as a basis for peace talks.

Putin’s call for Ukraine to withdraw from the south and east of the country were widely dismissed at the summit.

But the Kremlin insisted Sunday that Ukraine should “reflect” on Putin’s demands, citing the military situation on the ground.

“The current dynamic of the situation at the front shows us clearly that it’s continuing to worsen for the Ukrainians,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

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Naija Times