Zelensky aide says Ukraine peace plan is only way to end Russia’s war

  • Ukraine prioritizes the likes of the Global South
  • Russia developed ties with the region during the war
  • Ukraine sees its plan as the only path to peace
  • After a flurry of other peace initiatives, Kiev retreats

KYIV, May 29 (Reuters) – Kiev’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 Zhovkva told Reuters that Ukraine has no interest in a ceasefire that would lock in Russian territorial gains and wants to implement its peace plan, which envisions the full withdrawal of Russian troops.

In recent months he has pushed back on peace efforts by China, Brazil, the Vatican and South Africa.

„When you talk about the war in Ukraine you cannot have a Brazilian peace plan, a Chinese peace plan, a South African peace plan,” Zhovkva said in an interview late Friday.

Zelensky made a major push for the Global South court this month in response to peace moves by some of its members. He attended the Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia on May 19, holding talks with host Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Iraqi and other delegates.

He then traveled to Japan, where he met the leaders of India and Indonesia – key voices in the global South – on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit of major economic powers in Hiroshima.

While Kyiv has solid support from the West in its fight against the Kremlin, it has not received the same support from the Global South — which refers to much of Latin America, Africa and Asia — where Russia has been investing diplomatic energy for years.

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Moscow has strengthened ties with global South powers by selling more energy to India and China during the war in Ukraine.

In response to a Western ban on seaborne Russian oil imports, Russia has been working to shift 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 hoping to hammer out a trade deal with Kenya, has made repeated trips to Africa during the war and St. Petersburg is set to host a Russia-Africa summit this summer.

In a sign of how Ukraine is seeking to challenge Russia’s diplomatic dominance, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba embarked on his second wartime tour of Africa last week.

Ukraine’s Zhovkva said winning support in the Global South is a priority. While Ukraine focused on relations with its Western partners at the start of the invasion, preserving the peace was a concern for all countries, he said.

He rejected the prospect of calls for talks with Russia by Pope Francis, who described the occupied territories of Ukraine as a „political problem”.

„In this period of open war, we don’t need any mediators, it’s too late to mediate,” he said.

’Peace Summit’

Zhovkva said the reaction to Ukraine’s 10-point peace plan at the G7 summit was very positive.

„Not even one formula (point) has any concerns from the (G7) countries,” Zhovkva said.

He said Kyiv wanted G7 leaders to help host a proposed „peace summit” this summer, and the location was still being discussed.

Russia has said it is ready for peace talks with Kyiv, which have been stalled for months by the invasion. But it insists that any talks must be based on „new realities,” meaning that it controls all or part of the Ukrainian provinces it declares as annexation.

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China, the world’s second-largest economy and Ukraine’s top trading partner before the war, has presented a 12-point vision for peace.

Beijing, which has close ties to Russia’s leadership, sent top diplomat Li Hui to Kyiv and Moscow this month to promote peace talks.

Zhovkva said the ambassador was briefed in detail on the battlefield, the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the power grid and the transfer of Ukrainian children to Russia, which Kyiv says is a Russian war crime.

„He asked very carefully. There was no immediate answer … We’ll see. China is a wise country that understands its role in international affairs.”

(This story has been reprinted to add the word 'point’ in paragraph 16)

Report by Max Hunter; Editing by Tom Balmforth and John Boyle

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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