Russia says it sees no point in Ukraine peace talks in Switzerland

View shows a thermal power plant damaged by recent Russian missile strikes in Ukraine

ZURICH (Reuters) -Russia said on Thursday it saw no point in a conference being planned by Switzerland in mid-June to discuss how to end the Ukraine conflict and to which Moscow is not currently invited.

The Swiss government said on Thursday that "at this stage" Russia is not among the dozens of countries invited, adding that while it was open to including Russia, Moscow had repeatedly underlined it had no interest.

Switzerland in January said it would host the summit at the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow did not see it as a credible initiative.

"We don't understand what kind of milestone it is, this peace conference," he told reporters. "What kind of conference can we talk about, what kind of serious conference with serious expectations of some kind of results, without the participation of Russia?

"This is completely impossible, and it is clear that this is some kind of initiative that is not focused on results," he said.

The Swiss government said in a statement, "A peace process without Russia is not possible."

Zelenskiy, in his nightly video message, said invitations had been sent and described the summit as "practically the first real chance to start restoring a just peace".

He said Russian President Vladimir Putin would try to disrupt the efforts of summit participants "with manipulation and with the force of strikes by his terrorists".

Zelenskiy's chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, told Ukrainian television that Kyiv was making every effort to have China attend the summit.

"China is very important and consultations are constantly going on at different levels with the participation of our partners," he said.


Ukraine's government has questioned the utility of Russian participation in the talks due to be held from June 15-16 near the Swiss city of Lucerne.

"We know that it doesn't make sense to have Russia at the table if you cannot ensure that they act in good faith," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine published this week.

Kuleba said putting pressure on Russia on the battlefield and bringing together countries "who share principles" should help to make Moscow more willing to engage in dialogue.

Russian officials point to Switzerland's adoption of EU sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, and argue it therefore lacks credibility as a neutral broker.

The Swiss government said the talks will build on Zelenskiy's peace formula, calling for the withdrawal of Russian troops and bringing Russia to account for its actions, as well as other proposals based on the U.N. Charter and key principles of international law.

The delegations invited include members of the G7, G20, BRICS groups, the EU, international organizations and two religious representatives, Switzerland said.

The talks aim to create a framework for a lasting peace, and a roadmap for Russia's participation in the process, it said.

"The overarching objective of the summit is to inspire a future peace process," the Swiss government said. Direct peace talks between Russia and Ukraine broke down in the first few weeks following Russia's full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.

(Reporting by Dave Graham, Noele Illien, Anastasiia Malenko and Reuters in Moscow; editing by Alexandra Hudson, Mark Trevelyan, Ron Popeski and Jonathan Oatis)