International peace conference for Ukraine opens in Switzerland

by IANS |

Burgenstock, Switzerland, June 15 (IANS/DPA) An international conference opening in Switzerland on Saturday is set to discuss the first building blocks of a peace process in the Ukraine war.

Prime Ministers and other high-ranking representatives from around 100 countries, as well as from international organisations, are expected to attend.

They are to discuss issues ranging from grain exports from Ukraine, the safety of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and humanitarian issues, including prisoner exchanges.

The meeting is taking place on Ukraine's initiative, and President Volodymyr Zelensky is attending, as will many leaders, directly from the meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) meeting in southern Italy, which was largely focused on the Russian war.

Russia currently occupies around a fifth of Ukraine's territory, including the Crimean peninsula, which it illegally annexed in 2014.

The Swiss conference on Saturday and Sunday primarily aims to mobilise international support for Ukraine - including from countries that are friendly to Russia.

Around half of those attending the meeting in a luxury hotel high above Lake Lucerne are from Europe, while the other half are from the rest of the world.

The Swiss hope that a further conference will be decided this year - and that this would include Moscow, which launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Hundreds of thousands of soldiers have been killed or injured in the conflict, alongside the civilian casualties. The Ukrainian population is suffering enormously from Russia's shelling of the country's infrastructure.

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