Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is displayed on a screen via video link as World Economic Forum (WEF) participants stand for a minute of silence to pay tribute to Ukraine’s late interior minister at the Congress centre during the WEF annual meeting in Davos on January 18, 2023.
Fabrice Coffrini | Afp | Getty Images
Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak said on Sunday it was important that Russian ally China was at the table when Kyiv convenes further meetings on its peace formula.
Chinese Premier Li Qiang will lead a delegation in Davos this week. Asked if President Volodymyr Zelenskiy would meet Li, Yermak told a news briefing “let’s see”, adding he had not seen the Ukrainian president’s final agenda.
Zelenskiy is due to arrive in Bern, Switzerland on Monday to meet the President of the Swiss Confederation Viola Amherd.
Swiss Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, who attended Sunday’s discussions, told an earlier news conference: “We must do everything to end this war.”
“China plays a significant role. We must find ways to work with China on this,” Cassis said, adding that both Russia and Ukraine were not willing to make concessions.
Zelenskiy is also likely to meet JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon at Davos this week as he tries to seek support to shore up funds for Ukraine, a source familiar with the matter said. Bloomberg News first reported about Zelenskiy’s plans to meet Dimon.
President Vladimir Putin sent thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022, triggering the biggest confrontation between Russia and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
Cassis said that countries that had a dialogue with Russia, such as Brazil, India and South Africa, were involved in the Davos discussions and could play an important role.
A European Union official said Ukraine’s Western partners had expressed unequivocal support for Kyiv and its peace plans, with a call on the Global South nations to make clear to Russia the importance of respecting the United Nations charter and its core principles in the interest of global security.
The role of the Global South in Ukraine’s peace formula talks has come into focus in the lead up to Davos. Many of the non-aligned countries from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia that have largely stayed on the sidelines over Ukraine will be represented in the Swiss mountain resort.
The EU official said the Global South partners had generally expressed empathy with the fate of Ukrainians. Some highlighted the need for engaging with Russia’s concerns.
Yermak said nobody had asked him about any compromise over territory during Sunday’s meeting.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was not at Sunday’s meeting. But Cassis said he would appear at the summit and there would be opportunities for diplomats to speak to him.
Zelenskiy was represented by his chief of staff Andriy Yermak, who said there were participants from 18 Asian countries, 12 African countries and 6 South American countries.
“Countries from the Global South are increasingly involved in our work,” Yermak said earlier on his Telegram account.
Ukraine, with strong backing from its allies, has consistently said it will not give up until it has reclaimed every piece of territory that Russia has taken.
It is unclear, however, if countries in the Global South agree with that as a peace formula.
Nigeria’s national security adviser Nuhu Ribadu told Reuters that the African oil producer stood by Zelenskiy’s side, saying it will deal with the consequences of rising food prices.
The talks were also attended by the U.S. special representative for Ukraine’s Economic Recovery Penny Pritzker, as well as James O’Brien, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.
As concerns grow about ongoing U.S. support for the war in Ukraine during an election year, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are both expected to address the WEF, which officially starts on Monday evening.
Zelenskiy’s 10-point peace plan calls for the withdrawal of Russian troops and cessation of hostilities and the restoration of Ukraine’s state borders with Russia.
Russia, which controls a little under a fifth of Ukrainian territory, has dismissed Zelenskiy’s “peace formula” as absurd as it aims to find peace without Moscow’s participation.