World leaders head to Ukraine peace summit under shadow of Putin demands

World leaders head to Ukraine peace summit under shadow of Putin demands

World leaders headed to Switzerland on Saturday for a first summit on peace in Ukraine, after Vladimir Putin demanded Kyiv effectively surrender if it ultimately wants negotiations with Moscow.

The two-day gathering at the luxury Burgenstock resort brings together Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and more than 50 other heads of state and government, but without Russia taking part.

Switzerland says the aim is to lay the early groundwork for a path to peace eventually involving Moscow, but Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday branded the summit a "trick to distract everyone".

He said Moscow, which launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, would cease fire and begin peace talks "immediately" if Kyiv pulled its troops out of the east and south and gave up its NATO membership bid.

Zelensky slammed Putin's demands as a territorial "ultimatum" reminiscent of Nazi Germany's dictator Adolf Hitler, while NATO and the United States also immediately rejected the hardline conditions.

After almost a year of stalemate, Ukraine was forced to abandon dozens of frontline settlements this spring, with Russian troops holding a significant advantage in manpower and resources.

The G7 summit in Italy, which Zelensky attended, offered on Thursday a new $50 billion loan for Ukraine, using profits from the interest on frozen Russian assets.


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