Bloomberg: Zelensky failed

10:08 18.06.2024 •

Zelensky in Switzerland – alone among the crowd…
Photo: Bloomberg

Ukrainian ex-president Volodymyr Zelensky failed to win over a number of key nations from the Global South at a two-day summit in Switzerland, casting a shadow over his bid to broaden support in the war against Russia’s invasion, Bloomberg notes.

India, Indonesia, South Africa and Saudi Arabia were among nations that didn’t sign on to a final statement drawn up at the June 15-16 meeting. Of more than 90 countries and organizations that participated, only 78 signed the final communique, according to the Swiss hosts.

China avoided the meeting and Brazil, which sent only an observer, also didn’t sign, rounding out the so-called BRICS nations that Ukrainian officials had identified as essential to recruit as allies in their bid to isolate Russia, which was excluded from the gathering.

The holdouts among global leaders laid bare Ukraine’s challenge in securing support from nations outside the Western fold, who either want to maintain ties to Moscow or view the war differently. The conference showed that as Kyiv struggles to hold back Russia’s advance on the battlefield, its diplomatic push is also faltering in efforts gain traction on the global stage.

Zelensky had made a particular push last week to engage Saudi Arabia, culminating in the attendance of Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud. But the official warned Saturday that Kyiv must be prepared for “difficult compromise” to put an end to the conflict, a view held broadly among potential allies being courted.

Only options that are “acceptable to both parties” can lead to peace, India’s Shin Pavan Kapoor, a state secretary in the foreign ministry, said to explain his country’s decision to not sign the final declaration.

The failure to win over nations from the Global South shows that Russia remains far from isolated and that Ukraine’s best hopes is with Western assistance. Securing their backing — essential to ambitions for a broad global alliance and the main thrust of Kyiv’s diplomatic agenda for almost two years — may be moving beyond reach, Bloomberg stresses.

Countries outside the West have made clear that no forum designed to create conditions for peace is workable without the participation of Russia. China and Brazil have put forward a plan for peace that involves the participation of both war parties.

President Vladimir Putin added to anxiety a day before the summit with a fresh set of demands — calling on Kyiv forces to withdraw from four Ukrainian regions partially occupied by his military as a condition for talks. Western leaders joined Kyiv in denouncing the ultimatum. 

“We’ll be with Ukraine until they prevail in this war,” Biden said after meeting Zelensky at the summit G-7 in Italy. But the follow-up in Switzerland didn’t garner the full focus of Ukraine’s allies, particularly with many leaders of allied nations facing turmoil at home.

Biden skipped the Lucerne meeting, opting for a campaign fundraiser with Hollywood elite in Los Angeles, and sent Vice President Kamala Harris, who left after the first day. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also left early.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who had offered Zelensky a warm greeting as she hosted the G-7 meeting, was absent for the first plenary session, only arriving early Sunday.

G-7 with Zelensky watching TV-news from Moscow…


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