Ukraine Peace Talks Lack a Key Player

Ukraine says they're productive; Russia, which was not invited, thinks otherwise
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2023 1:00 AM CDT
Updated Aug 7, 2023 6:21 AM CDT
How Are Ukraine Talks Going? Depends Who You Ask
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during a joint news conference with Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at Horodetskyi House in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday July 19, 2023.   (Clodagh Kilcoyne/Pool via AP)

Ukraine peace talks took place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, this weekend, and while Ukraine says the discussions were productive, Russia—which was not invited—has a different opinion. Senior officials from 42 countries, including Ukraine, the US, China, India, and European countries gathered in Saudi Arabia to discuss a peace settlement; as the Wall Street Journal puts it, the talks were "an effort to rally global support behind conditions for ending the [Russian] war [on Ukraine] that would favor Ukraine." Ukraine wants Russia to withdraw all its troops, and for all of Ukraine's territory to be returned to its control, and it described the talks as an effort to garner broad support for those conditions internationally, Reuters reports.

Ukraine and Russia had competing comments on the talks after they ended Sunday. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's head of staff released a statement saying, "We had very productive consultations on the key principles on which a just and lasting peace should be built." Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, however, was quoted in state media as saying the talks were "a reflection of the West's attempt to continue futile, doomed efforts" to mobilize the Global South behind Ukraine. Analysts said China's willingness to participate—it has refused to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine and did not participate in previous talks—could signal a shift, though not a major one, in its attitude on the matter. Sources say most countries seemed willing to meet again in the coming weeks. (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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