Russia calls Ukraine peace meetings ‘pointless’, says plan can’t succeed

(Reuters) – Russia said on Tuesday that it was increasingly apparent to the world that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s plan to resolve the nearly two-year war had no hope of succeeding and dismissed meetings devoted to it as “pointless and harmful”.

The fourth in a series of meetings bringing together officials from several dozen countries – but not Russia – was held this week in Davos. A commentary on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website said the meeting had exposed differences between participants and produced no increase in support for the proposals.

“There is a growing understanding that no overall, fair and sustainable peace can be achieved by focusing on the ultimatum of the ‘Zelenskiy formula,'” the commentary said.

“All such meetings … including the Davos gathering and those to follow it, are pointless and harmful for settling the Ukrainian crisis.”

Russia is pointedly not invited to the meetings centred on Zelenskiy’s peace plan, which calls for withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukraine, recognition of its 1991 post-Soviet borders and a mechanism to bring Moscow to account.

Zelenskiy has ruled out talks with Moscow while Russian troops remain in the country. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday, he urged the West to tighten sanctions pressure on Moscow and to step up support for Kyiv.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Ukraine’s statehood could suffer an “irreparable blow” if the pattern of the war continued, and that Russia would never be forced to abandon the gains it had made in its military campaign.

Ukraine has sought through the meetings and other diplomatic moves to garner greater support from the “global south,” with many countries having stayed on the sidelines in the conflict.

Zelenskiy’s Chief of Staff, Andriy Yermak, said there were participants at the Davos meeting from 18 Asian countries, 12 African countries and six South American countries.

The Swiss government agreed after the latest gathering on Zelenskiy’s peace plan to host a global peace summit on Ukraine at Zelenskiy’s request.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov dismissed the Davos talks as “simply talking for the sake of talking,” saying there could be no moves towards a settlement without Russia’s participation.

(Reporting by Ron Popeski, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)