The solution to Russia-Ukraine conflict is inclusive talks, not exclusive and unfair ones
Published: Jun 16, 2024 06:18 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

This weekend's Summit on Peace in Ukraine in the Swiss town of Burgenstock isn't expected to have any tangible effect on resolving the Russia-Ukraine conflict. With Russia's exclusion from the event and the decision of most Global South states not to attend, the prospects for these talks are dim. The most that they might achieve is a joint statement about nuclear safety and humanitarian issues, if reports about their scaled-back agenda, which initially included Ukraine delivering ultimatums to Russia, are true. 

Even in that scenario, however, the outcome could still be exploited by the US to advance its interests. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told local media that the talks are "being used to the maximum to maintain the anti-Russian psychosis." 

The Ukrainian service of the US government-run Radio Liberty reported recently that some countries withdrew from the event, which could be interpreted as them becoming more aware of the inadvertent political consequences of their attendance on ties with Russia. At the same time, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a meeting with his Brazilian counterpart on the sidelines of a BRICS ministerial meeting in Russia's Nizhny Novgorod that more countries approve of the consensus of China and Brazil on the settlement of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. 

China and Brazil presented a six-point proposal for Russia-Ukraine peace negotiations in late May, following Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Beijing. The document is built upon China's Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis that was published in February 2023. It calls for the participation of both warring parties and opposes dividing the world into isolated groups, unlike the Swiss talks. 

Observers should remember that Brazil will host this year's G20 Leaders' Summit in Rio from November 18 to 19. Truly inclusive and fair talks might be organized before the summit, inviting both warring participants. 

The Russia-Ukraine conflict was discussed during the last two G20 Summits, so it is likely to be discussed during the upcoming one as well.

Russia has consistently expressed its desire to reach a political solution to the conflict with Ukraine. Ukraine's economy and society have been devastated by the conflict. It'll take years to rebuild the country, and the longer the conflict drags on, the more difficult it will be. The sooner it's resolved, the better it'll be for all Ukrainians, but it appears a solution on Kiev's terms through the fulfillment of its maximalist objectives is impossible. The failure of last summer's NATO-backed counteroffensive highlighted the resilience of Russia's defenses.   

Furthermore, while Ukraine's Western partners still financially support it, they're struggling to militarily compete with Russia, according to a report from the UK's Sky News late last month. The outlet cited figures from the management consulting firm Bain & Company, concluding that Russia is producing three times as many shells as the West at about a quarter of the cost. While this insight might suggest that Russia is on the brink of a game-changing military breakthrough, that can't be taken for granted. 

If French President Emmanuel Macron follows through with his wordings that his country might send troops to Ukraine if Russia advances on Kiev again or moves toward Odesa, this could dramatically escalate the conflict. This scenario could become more realistic if Russia achieves a military breakthrough, and other NATO members might join France in dispatching their troops to Ukraine in order to prevent its full defeat. The aforementioned sequence of events would dangerously increase the risk of World War III by miscalculation. 

There has never been a better time for a parallel peace process to emerge, one that could be jointly led by China and Brazil in accordance with their six-point proposal for averting such a scenario. It remains to be seen how everything unfolds, but it's obvious that only inclusive and fair talks can lead to Russia-Ukraine peace, not exclusive and unfair ones or so-called military solutions. 

The author is a Moscow-based American political analyst. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn