Kiev: Kiev̵7;s peace plan is the only way to end Russia’s war in Ukraine and the time for mediation efforts has passed, a top aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
Chief diplomatic adviser Ihor Zovkva told Reuters that Ukraine is not interested in a ceasefire that caps at Russian territorial gains, and wants to implement its peace plan, which envisages a full withdrawal of Russian troops.
He has pushed back a flurry of peace initiatives in recent months from China, Brazil, the Vatican and South Africa.
“You can’t have a Brazilian peace plan, a Chinese peace plan, a South African peace plan when you’re talking about the war in Ukraine,” Zhovkva said in an interview late Friday.
Zelensky made a major push this month to bring the Global South to court in response to peace moves by some of its members. He attended the Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia on 19 May, holding talks with host Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Iraq and other delegations.
He then went to Japan where he met the leaders of India and Indonesia on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit of major economic powers in Hiroshima – important voices in the Global South.
While Kiev has drawn support from the West in its struggle against the Kremlin, it has not found similar support from the Global South – a term that refers to much of Latin America, Africa and Asia – where Russia has spent years of diplomatic energy. have invested.
Moscow has strengthened ties with the powers of the Global South during the war in Ukraine, including by selling more of its energy to India and China.
In response to a Western ban on seaborne Russian oil imports, Russia is working to restart supplies from its traditional European markets to Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who was in Nairobi on Monday in hopes of striking a trade deal with Kenya, has repeatedly traveled to Africa during the war, and St. Petersburg is set to host a Russia-Africa summit this summer. Is.
In a sign of how Ukraine is trying to challenge Russia’s diplomatic influence, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba began his second wartime tour of Africa last week.
Ukraine’s Zhovkva said winning support in the Global South was a top priority. He said that Ukraine focused on relations with the Western allies at the start of the invasion, but that achieving peace was a concern for all countries.
He downplayed the prospects of a call for dialogue with Russia by Pope Francis, who described Ukraine’s occupied territories as a “political problem”.
“In this era of open warfare, we do not need any mediator. It is too late for mediation,” he said.
Zhovkva said that Ukraine’s 10-point peace plan received a very positive response at the G7 summit.
“There was no concern from the (G7) countries on a single formula,” Zhovkva said.
He said Kiev wanted G7 leaders to help bring as many global South leaders as possible to a “peace summit” proposed by Kiev this summer, adding that the location was still being discussed.
Russia has said it is open to peace talks with Kiev, which stalled months after the invasion. But it insists that any talks must be based on “new realities”, meaning the announced merger of five Ukrainian provinces it controls in whole or in part – a condition Kiev will not accept.
China, the world’s second-largest economy and Ukraine’s top trading partner before the war, has called for a 12-point vision for peace that calls for a ceasefire but does not condemn the invasion or annex territories to Russia. does not oblige you to withdraw from
Beijing, which has close ties with Russia’s leadership, sent top envoy Li Hui to Kiev and Moscow this month to encourage peace talks.
Zhovkva said the envoy was briefed in detail on the battlefield, the Zaporizhia nuclear plant, the power grid and the transfer of Ukrainian children to Russia, which Kiev says is a Russian war crime.
“He listened very carefully. There was no immediate reaction…we’ll see. China is a wise country that understands its role in international affairs.”