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Dmytro Kuleba: Following the upcoming Peace Summit, it will be much more difficult for Russia to promote its international initiatives
08 June 2024 10:34

The density of international events taking place these days and planned for the next month has added work to policy-makers, diplomats and analysts around the world. However, predictions about the impact these events can have on Ukraine are based mostly on the internal attitude of whether the glass is half empty or half full.

So Ukrinform decided to "check the clocks" with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, and requested his comment on the rapidly changing geopolitical situation in the context of our country's interests. Given his tight schedule, Ukraine’s top diplomat provided written answers to our questions.


- More than one hundred countries and international organizations so far have confirmed their intention to attend the inaugural Peace Summit set for June 15-16 in Switzerland. Diplomatic corps of Ukraine and Russia are struggling to win over as many countries as possible.  What impact can this struggle have on the number of Summit attendees?

This is a global diplomatic struggle that we are waging right now on all continents and in all corners of the world. And the closer the summit, the fiercer this struggle becomes. The diplomatic corps of Ukraine and Russia are, to put it mildly, no equal forces in terms of resources. But working together with our allies and through competent and systematic actions, we will outplay the enemy.

Look at the geography and intensity of foreign policy activity by President Zelensky, his team, and all Ukrainian diplomats in recent days and weeks. You will see that, in military terms, Ukraine is acting proactively and powerfully, in particular, in the deep enemy rear.

We are pleased with the hysterical atmosphere ruling in Moscow because of the Peace Summit. We can see this by their actions and attempts to disrupt the Summit. They understand that what is at stake is the Russian myth of dividing the world between Europe and America, which support Ukraine, and the rest of the world, which supports Russia.

In actual fact, most of the world supports the UN Charter and international law. After all, no one wants to live in a world in which aggressors are allowed to attack their neighbors, commit atrocities and seize pieces of foreign territory. The Peace Summit will clearly put this on record, and thus will make Ukraine's position stronger and take an important step towards restoring a just peace in our country.

- What outcome of the Global Peace Summit will Ukraine consider a success? According to the Ukrainian plan, the Summit was supposed to unite the world around the Ukrainian Peace Formula. To what extent has this goal been achieved? China has announced that Beijing's peace plan to settle the war in Ukraine has already found support among more than two dozen countries. Doesn't it look like that participation or non-participation in the Summit marked the lines of division?

Ukraine is in active dialogue with China regarding the vision of ways to achieve peace. We are convincing the Chinese side that the principle of territorial integrity is fundamental for both our countries. Accordingly, it should be at the heart of any peace plan.

It’s our firm belief that that the Peace Formula is the basis that makes it possible to move towards a just peace based on the principle of territorial integrity and respect for the UN Charter.

An intensive dialogue on this topic is currently ongoing between Ukraine and China. We responded publicly to the Chinese position, and this week in Beijing, political consultations between the foreign ministers of the two countries took place for the first time in many years.

We are also convinced that China's participation in the Peace Summit would be the appropriate step that would bring peace closer and demonstrate Beijing's truly balanced position on the Russian-Ukrainian war.


- According to the media, the Summit in Switzerland will focus on three provisions set out in the Peace Formula - nuclear security, food security and the repatriation of abducted children. At the same time, it has been reported that the draft decision contains a provision that Russian representatives will be further involved in negotiations regarding the Ukrainian Peace Formula.

Our position is very honest. We all understand that Russia is currently not in the mood for peace. Russia is seeking war and Ukraine’s destruction. Under such conditions, progress towards peace will be gradual. That is why there have been chosen the first three provisions of the Peace Formula, which have the widest consensus. We will start with them, then move on to the rest of the provisions. I emphasize that Ukraine’s goal remains to be the implementation of all the provisions set out in the Peace Formula.

The principle of Russia’s parallel involvement was already worked out in 2022 negotiations on the "Black Sea Grain Initiative": Ukraine debates a number of conditions with a number of countries, then those countries debate them with Russia. At the time, these were Turkey and the UN, now it is a much broader initiative, but the level of the challenges is broader as well.

- If negotiations with Russia are to take place anyway, how much will the Peace Summit make Ukraine's position stronger? After all, even if the Summit supports the three mentioned provisions, this will not get Russia to fulfill them.

The Peace Summit will definitely strengthen Ukraine’s position. It will place on record that Ukraine is not the only one to share the vision of the ways to achieving a just peace and a support for the principles of the UN Charter. This is the opinion shared by the majority of the world. Even a country like Russia cannot fully ignore the opinion of the world majority.

This event will also change the outlooks of many capitals. Following the Peace Summit, it will generally be much more difficult for Russia to promote its international initiatives.


- Ukraine is making every effort possible to make sure the intergovernmental conference on Ukraine’s EU accession takes place in June, and a Ukrainian governmental team is getting prepared for this gathering that is set for June 25-27. Are things going to the Ukrainian plan? What can stand in the way of holding this conference?

President Zelensky personally have made extraordinary efforts to make Ukraine's European dream a reality. We can now see the results achieved on this difficult path. It is very important that the progress achieved by Ukraine has been recognized by the EU. That is why we see the adoption of historic decisions that really bring our country closer to the European Union membership.

Ukraine has implemented seven recommendations of the European Commission, which is the basis for the adoption by the EU Council of the Negotiating Framework for Ukraine's EU accession.

As evidenced by the results of the internal negotiations in the European Union and the Ukraine-EU dialogue, the adoption of the negotiating framework and the holding of the First Intergovernmental Conference, which will herald a start to accession talks, look quite achievable as early as in in June, under the Belgian EU presidency. Unless, of course, some force majeure intervenes.

It is tentatively planned that initial intergovernmental conferences with Ukraine and Moldova will be held on June 25 in Luxembourg, following the EU Council meeting on general issues. First with Ukraine, then with Moldova. They will be held at the level of member states’ ministers for European affairs, and will be attended by a European Commission representative at the level of Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi

Following the upcoming Peace Summit, it will be much more difficult for Russia to promote its international initiatives.

After the talks open, bilateral screening meetings within the framework of the first cluster can begin as early as at the beginning of July.

The Negotiating Framework is currently under approval by the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the EU Member States.

We are all working to expedite the dynamics of the negotiating process and to make sure that the EU Member States showcase their political will to approve the Negotiating Framework and give the actual start to the negotiations following the first intergovernmental conference set for the end of this month.


- It is predicted that right-wing parties will be able to strengthen their positions in the aftermath of the European Parliament election later this month. Can this become a new challenge for Ukraine? How can we get prepared for this?

Preliminary analysis suggests that, after the European Parliament elections, Ukraine can count on maintaining a sustained support from the prime political groups - EPP (Group of the European People's Party), S&D (Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats), Renew Europe, and the Greens.

As of the beginning of June, electoral trends indicate that the pro-European centrist forces -- EPP, S&D and Renew Europe -- will be able to maintain a majority in the next European Parliament. At the same time, the strengthening of the right wing parties, along with the coming to the European Parliament of a large number of new members not yet affiliated with specific political groups will be facilitating for the potential creation of situational coalitions or for the new members joining the centrists, depending on the issues on the agenda.

In interviews with foreign media, I am often asked whether Ukraine is concerned about these or other elections, whether we are worried about these or other outcomes. There is no anxiety, because there is going on diplomatic work, orderly and systematic. Ukraine has a distinct task to tackle -- to survive and win the war, to restore peace in our country, to recover from the Russia-caused destruction. To achieve this, we will work with any of the political forces or leaders. And we will achieve the results we want.

What is my confidence based on? First, it’s possible to find an approach to everyone. Second, the matter of restoring a just peace is a matter of the security of Europe and the world overall. After all, any government in any of the partner countries is interested in the situation to develop like this. Any other scenario would pose an immediate threat to the security and well-being of those countries.

- At the beginning of June, Polish farmers restarted their blockade of checkpoints on the border with Ukraine. Is it currently possible to find a political solution to this issue between Poland and Ukraine?

We already have an extensive experience in dealing with such situations and finding solutions. This situation does not benefit any of our countries. We maintain an intensive dialogue with the Polish government and expect that the Polish partners will make efforts on their part to resolve the outstanding issues.

We on our part have always demonstrated constructiveness and readiness to make sure all the difficulties are overcome in the spirit of mutual respect.


- Ways to use proceeds from immobilized Russian assets and direct them as aid to Ukraine will be a key item on the agenda for the upcoming G7 summit. Can we expect breakthrough decisions from the June summit meeting of the Group of Seven in Italy?

Not only do we expect, but are working intensively to make sure that ambitious decisions regarding the use of frozen Russian assets are adopted at the G7 summit.

We understand the partners’ concerns regarding the consequences of this move. But we believe that there are all international legal grounds for using not only the proceeds from these assets, but also the assets as such in the interests of Ukraine. International law defines these grounds quite clearly.

Fears about the stability of reserve currencies or compliance with the principle of the rule of law are also greatly exaggerated. On the contrary, such a step will demonstrate to all potential aggressors that they will have to pay a price for an assault on another country. It is crucial that such a decision set a precedent for the future.

Broadly speaking, we see that our partners are moving step by step closer towards such a decision. The steps already made with regard to the use of the proceeds are quite significant; we are grateful for them. Estonia, in particular, has recently set an example for others to follow by passing legislation that de jure allows for the use of the assets.

I am grateful to the Estonian partners for having the courage to set precedents. We are working to make sure that our other partners, too, take ambitious steps. They will have to be taken, sooner or later.

- The recent statement by US President Joe Biden regarding NATO and Ukraine evokes ambiguous feelings. On the one hand, he said that "Ukraine is already part of NATO," and on the other, that he "was one who was not ready to support Ukraine’s immediate membership in NATO". Which part of this statement did you think is more relevant?

President Biden undeniably supports Ukraine, and we are grateful to him for everything he has done for our country in these difficult and decisive years. I am convinced that he sincerely wants Ukraine to win over Russian aggression.

Regarding Ukraine's NATO membership, it’s my firm belief that this is a historical fact. Ukraine will be in the Alliance, because in today's world it is simply impossible to imagine the security of the Euro-Atlantic community without Ukraine and its army. Whether one likes it or not, that is the reality.

So it's a matter of window of opportunity. We are now getting prepared as much as possible for this historic moment. When it comes, Ukraine's accession to NATO is supposed to take a matter of weeks, not months or years.


- The procedure for appointing Valery Zaluzhny as Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Kingdom was launched in early March, and, on May 9, the President issued a decree to this effect. Mr. Zaluzhny himself has never commented on this matter, but officials involved in the appointment process are saying that he is preparing himself for the future diplomatic service. How will the degree of his preparedness be evaluated? When will the new ambassador start his tenure in the United Kingdom?

This process is already approaching the finish line. I understand the increased interest in this topic, but I remind you that all ambassadors are evaluated in the same way: by results. Therefore, I wish our new ambassador to the United Kingdom, first of foremost, success and tangible results in his diplomatic effort for the sake of our country.

- Last August, you warned Ukrainians about a very difficult political season. What are your predictions for this fall?

Wait, let's survive the summer first. We are at a point of very low expectations. But no matter how paradoxical it sounds, I think that Ukrainian achievements will positively surprise both Ukrainians and people abroad.

The prime necessity now is to maintain the unity despite the enemy’s attempts to undermine it, and to work hard together for the sake of win and not to lose hope. We have to do everything to save the country and its people. We have to stick together and help each other. We will win. Let's cherish this trust in each other and move forward.

Originally from: https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-polytics/3872772-dmytro-kuleba-minister-of-foreign-affairs.html

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