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Ukraine’s Zelensky Accuses China of Disrupting Peace Summit

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Ukraine's Zelensky Accuses China of Disrupting Peace Summit
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: CNN Image

On Sunday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky accused China of working hard to prevent countries from attending a peace talks, which Beijing has publicly criticized for not including Russia.

Zelensky made the statements during a security gathering in Singapore, where he hoped to raise support for the conference and advocate for additional military aid for Ukraine, which has been losing ground to Russian soldiers.

“China, unfortunately, is working hard today to prevent countries from coming to the peace summit,” Zelensky told reporters on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, which brings together defense experts from across the world.

Beijing believes the summit “should have the recognition of Russia and Ukraine, equal participation of all parties, and fair discussion of all peace plans,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a press conference. “Otherwise, it is difficult for the conference to play a substantive role in restoring peace,” she stated.

Biden and China’s Jinping absent

Zelensky also voiced dissatisfaction that “some world leaders” had not signed up for the meeting, with China indicating that Xi Jinping will not go and US President Joe Biden still to commit.

China stated that it would be “difficult” for it to attend if Russia did not participate, something Ukraine has denied.

Kyiv expects that the peace summit would provide wide international support for its vision of the parameters required to halt Russia’s war.

On Sunday, Zelensky announced that more than 100 countries and organizations had signed up for the meeting, and he invited Asia-Pacific states to join.

The peace meeting risks being overshadowed if prominent Ukraine supporter Biden, who is currently running for president against Donald Trump and has made no indication that he will attend, does not show up.

Zelensky described China as “a tool in Putin’s hands,” accusing Russia of utilizing Chinese influence and diplomats to derail the peace talks.

While China claims to be a neutral party in the Ukraine war, it has faced criticism for neglecting to denounce Moscow’s attack.

On Sunday, Zelensky met with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of the Singapore Security Forum. Zelensky stated that they had a “very good” encounter.

Bilateral security agreement

In a post on X, Zelensky stated that the duo addressed “the defense needs of our country, bolstering Ukraine’s air defense system, the F-16 coalition, and the drafting of a bilateral security agreement.”

According to a summary of the meeting, Pentagon spokesman Major General Pat Ryder stated Austin underlined unwavering US support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression. He reaffirmed the US commitment to maintaining the strong support of a coalition of over fifty countries to help Ukraine defend its freedom,” Ryder stated.

The meeting occurred after Washington opted to partially ease limits on using US-supplied missiles to strike within Russia, which Zelensky hailed as a “step forward”.

Zelensky and Austin last met in December in Washington, where Zelensky made a last-ditch request for US funding before it ran out.

Following months of political bickering, the US Congress approved a $61 billion aid package for Ukraine in April, allowing the country’s outgunned military to receive desperately needed weapons.

Chinese Defense Spokesman Wu Qian told AFP that he was unaware of any plans for Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun to meet with Zelensky in Singapore. Ukraine is battling to contain a Russian ground incursion in the Kharkiv region, where Moscow just scored its largest territorial gains in 18 months.

Russia’s assets to bolster Ukraine War

Zelensky has been touring European countries in recent days, requesting more military supplies for Ukrainian troops and warning them of the dangers if they show any symptoms of exhaustion from the conflict.

“It is very important for Ukrainians that the world does not get tired… that the world understands that it cannot get tired of the war launched by the aggressor,” Zelensky told reporters on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s allies are grappling with how to extract funds from frozen Russian assets to bolster Kyiv’s war effort, a topic that is becoming more pressing as Russia gains territory on the battlefield and the outlook for Ukraine’s public finances worsens.

At the top of the agenda as financial officials from the Group of Seven affluent democracies meet in Stresa to discuss what to do with the frozen Russian central bank reserves in reaction to the invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine and many of its supporters have asked for the seizure of US$260 billion in Russian assets frozen outside the country following the February 24, 2022 invasion.

However, European officials have refused, citing legal and financial stability concerns. The majority of the frozen assets are located in Europe.

Source: AFP

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