Ukraine conference: a step towards peace?

In the final declaration of the peace conference at the luxury Bürgenstock resort in Switzerland, the majority of participants declared their support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine: 84 out of 92 representatives present signed the declaration. Measures for the country's food and energy security were also outlined. A follow-up event, possibly in Saudi Arabia or Turkey, is still being negotiated.

Open/close all quotes
NV (UA) /

No rush for a new summit

Holding the next peace summit in autumn would be premature, political scientist Volodymyr Fessenko argues on NV:

“In my view the Swiss president's idea to hold the next summit before the US elections is misguided. No tangible results can be achieved within this timeframe. The US leadership will not have time for a peace summit in the autumn ... By that time, the military situation in Ukraine and the international situation regarding the war between Russia and Ukraine are unlikely to change significantly. ... Therefore we should now focus on defining the strategy and tactics of the ongoing peace process.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

This is about international humanitarian law

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung is alarmed by the abstention of some states from the final declaration:

“Many former colonies, which are otherwise so sensitive to neocolonial impulses, are just allowing the Kremlin to get away with its imperial policies. ... The Ukraine conflict is not about choosing between Russia and the West. At its core are the elementary principles of human rights, which it is in the interests of all peace-loving nations to defend. It is most regrettable that at the Bürgenstock summit there was no possibility of convincing India, Mexico, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and other countries of the so-called global South of this.”

Aargauer Zeitung (CH) /

Switzerland on the right side

The Aargauer Zeitung is not worried by the fact that Russia now considers the Swiss Confederation to have given up its neutrality:

“Switzerland has taken itself out of the game for a decisive follow-up conference in which Ukraine negotiates peace with Russia itself. The sanctions against Russia and the Bürgenstock Conference attended by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have definitively placed Switzerland in the Western camp. For Russia, Switzerland is therefore no longer a partner for good services. But that's not a problem. All those who cherish democracy, human rights and the rule of law must take a stand in this war.”

Tygodnik Powszechny (PL) /

The West won't give in

Tygodnik Powszechny is optimistic:

“There is no doubt that we are seeing a consolidation of the West, whereas until recently there was talk of its becoming fatigued. And its commitment not to let up; a just peace remains the goal. This is also a signal to the world (especially to the part of the world threatened by Russia) that the West wants peace, but that that cannot mean that Ukraine gives up and disappears from the map.”

Index (HU) /

Doomed to fail

Commenting on website Index, former socialist politician Gyula Hegyi criticises the conference for sending a contradictory message:

“The Ukrainian 'peace conference' in Switzerland is a doubly absurd event. Firstly, because the Russian side was not invited, so in announcing the invitations the organisers effectively already made it public that they have given up the idea of peace through negotiations. ... But it is also absurd because Ukraine and the Western participants don't want peace, but are demonstratively preparing for a continuation of the war, increased militarisation and escalation against Russia.”

Echo (RU) /

First stop the bloodshed

In a Telegram post picked up by Echo, liberal opposition politician Boris Vishnevsky pleads for an immediate end to the fighting:

“As long as there is no ceasefire agreement, as long as people are dying, there can be no negotiations. This agreement must be reached without preconditions. Just stop and start talking - for weeks, months, maybe years. Starting from - as is already clear - diametrically opposed positions. ... The bloodshed must stop now; ending it won't be the result of protracted negotiations, but their starting point.”

Olessya Yakhno (UA) /

Hybrid solutions finally rejected

Political scientist Olesya Yakhno welcomes the West's approach on Facebook:

“It is only in the third year of Russia's full-scale invasion that the West seems to be waking up and formulating its approach to peace. An approach based on a clear strengthening of Ukraine's military components and the need to return to the principles of international law. All 'hybrid' solutions are finally being rejected and the realisation is dawning: either humanity defeats war through joint action or war will defeat humanity.”

El País (ES) /

Kyiv needs facts on the frontline

Zelensky has every reason to be satisfied, El País sums up:

“At three summits this past week, the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin, the G7 Summit in Bari and the one in Switzerland, Ukraine has achieved substantial political results ... The message to Putin is clear. With nuances regarding the commitment of the individual countries, the international community is telling him that it will not allow Ukraine to succumb for lack of military and diplomatic support. ... Kyiv now needs facts on the frontline. ... Under these conditions, ceasefire negotiations are possible, without preconditions.”

Der Standard (AT) /

It's a start

Der Standard reflects on what direction things will take now:

“The declarations of dozens of heads of state and government reflect a general agreement that things cannot go on like this. The Gulf states, possibly Turkey, could play an active role, and India is joining in for the first time. There is already talk of a follow-up conference. The beginning of an end to the war and, indirectly, a subsequent peace conference may now be considered. Now the plan is to talk to Russia about food security, the safety of nuclear power plants in Ukraine and the exchange of prisoners of war and abducted children. It's a start.”

Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

Switzerland has taken a stance

For Corriere del Ticino, despite several flaws this was the right outcome:

“A peace conference without the aggressor sitting at the negotiating table, a declaration without the signatures of some of the countries present, and a two-day Swiss conference with the Ukrainian head of state playing the host. All elements that might lead one to speak of a missed opportunity, if not a failed conference. But that is not the case. ... Our Switzerland, in a context where it is easier to make a wrong move than a right one, has responded 'present'. Of course we could have chosen to remain silent, but this attitude does not suit us, and we are proud of this.”

Público (PT) /

More bold diplomacy needed behind closed doors

A new strategy will be needed to resolve the Ukraine war, writes political scientist Pedro Ponte e Sousa in Público:

“The Cold War 2.0 environment, the logic of confrontational rather than cooperative security, the increase in militaristic rhetoric and investment and an escalation in rearmament that is increasing rather than reducing the threat are trapping all sides in echo chambers in which the unavoidable seems inevitable. Diplomacy and negotiations are increasingly necessary to break this vicious circle. Not public diplomacy with eloquent speeches to sway public opinion, but real negotiations behind closed doors, with gains and losses for each side, but always leading to a better situation than the cruel violence of the ongoing war.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

Putin induced to make a tactical error

Jutarnji list takes a closer look at Vladimir Putin's pre-conference calls on Kyiv to vacate the four contested regions of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk and renounce its Nato ambitions in order to make peace possible:

“Perhaps he has made a tactical error by officially naming specific goals in the war for the first time: namely control over four regions and a neutral status for Ukraine. Up to now Putin had avoided being this specific, and that has given him a lot of room for manoeuvre. He could present an outcome that included maintaining Russian control over the occupied territories as his victory before, but now he has deprived himself of this possibility.”