Ukrainian war, the Lucerne summit: «Kiev cannot be touched», but the Brics distance themselves. Melons: peace is not surrendered

Ukrainian war, the Lucerne summit: «Kiev cannot be touched», but the Brics distance themselves. Melons: peace is not surrendered
Ukrainian war, the Lucerne summit: «Kiev cannot be touched», but the Brics distance themselves. Melons: peace is not surrendered

A big success”. A “powerful step” towards peace. Volodymyr gives an enthusiastic assessment of the summit in Lucerne, the gathering of the world’s leaders in the Swiss Alps to open a path towards a truce in the trenches more than two years after the Russian invasion. He looks at the glass half full, which can be translated like this. Eighty states, after three days of conclave, signed a document that recognizes Ukrainian territorial integrity as a prerequisite for future negotiations. And we are talking about negotiations again, with new insistence. He promises a second summit, Zelensky, “in a matter of months” and this time Russia could also sit at the table. Even from the Kremlin they seem to be opening a window, «Putin does not refuse dialogue», except that the Russian proposal is an inadmissible blackmail for Kiev: the abandonment of four occupied regions, the curtain on joining NATO.

Peace summit in Switzerland, what was it for? The Russia-Ukraine dialogue, China the “malign actor” and the countries against the agreement

Above all, he must deal with the enthusiasm of the president in camouflage with the cold reality of the numbers. The result of the vote on the final joint statement appears on the screens of the Bürgenstock, the luxury resort overlooking Lake Lucerne. It is a scant document, laboriously polished by the ninety-two states that sent a delegation to Switzerland. A few essential points from which to start, to put an end to the dripping in Eastern Europe.

The commitment to “food security”, i.e. the export of wheat from the Black Sea, the initiative to isolate the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant from the fighting with a “free zone” under the aegis of Kiev. And again, the return of Ukrainian prisoners and children kidnapped by the Russians, respect for the “territorial integrity” of the attacked country. There are a few points, but the international community is not united on these either. Twelve states refuse to vote on the joint statement. There is Narendra Modi’s India and Bin Salman’s Saudi Arabia, followed by Mexico and Indonesia, South Africa and Libya. The global South remains with folded arms at the Swiss summit, states representing more than two billion citizens refuse to talk about peace under these conditions. It is a studied defection, in agreement with Russia which holds the presidency of the BRICS and defined the Bürgenstock summit, in Putin’s words, as “a trick”. China didn’t even show up. It’s enough to ruin the party for Zelensky, despite the parade of Western leaders who have climbed to high altitude to demonstrate their closeness to him. There is Giorgia Meloni who after some hesitation takes off from Borgo Egnazia, once the Italian G7 has closed, and delivers her “whatever it takes” to the Swiss plenary. The Italian Prime Minister says: «Dear Volodymyr, we are here to tell you that you can continue to count on us as long as you need it». She explains that everything will be done “to unite efforts, coordinate partners”. Promises that are not just rhetorical: the “his and hers” G7 has just reached an agreement on 50 billion dollars in frozen Russian assets to be given to Kiev by the end of the year. And in these hours the ninth military aid package is being filed at the Ministry of Defense: inside a battery of Samp-Ts to defend Ukrainian cities and, according to sources familiar with the dossier, also long-range missiles, crucial for restarting the counter-offensive . «Dear colleagues, peace does not mean surrender, as Putin seems to suggest», urges Meloni. “Confusing peace with submission is a dangerous precedent for everyone.” It is the leitmotif of the European leaders who rushed to Switzerland alongside Zelensky. Macron and Scholz, Sanchez and Ursula von der Leyen. «It is vital that Ukraine resists, Putin wants a capitulation and no state could accept it», states the president of the Commission who also bets on the granite support for Kiev for an encore at Palazzo Berlaymont. But words clash with reality. The diplomatic one is a puzzle for the Ukrainian president. Zelensky is already looking towards a “second summit” for peace.

THE TABLES

It will not take years, “but months, we must work at a technical level and proceed quickly”, explains the leader, convinced that an important first step was taken in Lucerne with the green light for a document that speaks of “territorial integrity” as a prerequisite for a deal. He also appeals to China, absent but stony guest at the summit, “we want it to be our friend”. Then there is the reality on the ground that casts a shadow over the leader of the resistance. The counteroffensive is at a standstill, the Russians are advancing in Kharkiv and Kherson, the “general mud”, in the summer, will slow down operations on both sides. A window, perhaps, had opened two years ago: the negotiations between Moscow and Kiev, hosted in Turkey in autumn 2022, had come one step away from an agreement, revealed the New York Times. “No, Putin’s ones have always been ultimatums,” Zelensky denies. His face is marked by tiredness. “How can you be sure that the Ukrainians are not tired of the war?” asks a reporter. She stares at her in silence, she takes off her earphone. A long sigh, then a nervous smile. «I’m not. But we didn’t choose this war.”

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