Conference on Ukraine Peace Draws 90 Nations, Russia Absent

Ninety nations gather for a conference on sustainable peace in Ukraine, but Russia declines to attend. Switzerland hosts the event to chart a path towards ending the conflict.
Conference on Ukraine Peace Draws 90 Nations, Russia Absent

Ninety countries have signed up to attend a conference aimed at finding a route to sustainable peace in Ukraine, according to Switzerland, the host nation. However, Russia has opted out of participating in the event.


Swiss President Viola Amherd stated in Bern on Monday that the conference, scheduled for June 15-16, aims to agree on a path towards ending the conflict that began nearly 28 months ago with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Despite Switzerland hosting the event at Kyiv’s request, Russia will not be present. Bern previously stated that Russia was not invited as it had indicated disinterest in participating. Moscow has argued that Switzerland's alignment with EU sanctions compromises its neutrality.


However, the Swiss government emphasized that the conference intends to jointly define a roadmap on involving both Russia and Ukraine in future peace efforts.


Amherd confirmed participation from around half of the attending nations at the head of state or government level, including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. US President Joe Biden will not attend, but Vice President Kamala Harris and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will represent the US.


Switzerland remains undeterred by the absence of some nations, emphasizing the importance of involving Russia in the peace process. Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis stated that Switzerland believes there cannot be a peace process without Russia, indicating efforts to engage Moscow in the future.


The conference aims to reach a common understanding towards lasting peace in Ukraine, with issues such as nuclear security, humanitarian aid, freedom of navigation, and prisoners of war on the agenda.


Switzerland has pledged to deploy up to 4,000 military personnel to ensure security for the event, amidst increased cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns. Amherd noted personal attacks against her in Russian media but stated that Switzerland has refrained from summoning the ambassador, preferring to address the issue internally.


Cassis acknowledged the interest in disrupting the talks but refrained from attributing blame to any specific party.