Ukrainian-Backed Peace Talks in Malta

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Representatives from more than 60 countries gathered in Malta for the third round of Ukrainian-backed peace talks, which excluded Moscow. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the first day of closed-door talks among national security and policy advisors, hoping to drum up support for his 10-point plan to end the war. The meeting confirmed the broad interest and increasing support for the key elements of Ukraine’s Peace Formula. Participants included the United States, the EU, Britain, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, and India. However, China, which insists it is neutral and refuses to criticise the invasion, did not attend.

Lively Discussions and Key Areas of Focus

Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said that discussions on Saturday were lively and focused on five key areas, notably the issue of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Zelensky’s peace plan calls for Russia to withdraw all its troops from Ukraine’s internationally recognised borders, including from the territory of Crimea, which it annexed in 2014. The Malta talks are also looking at nuclear security, notably the need to ensure the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, and how to protect Ukraine’s energy infrastructure as winter approaches. The issue of food security was also on the agenda, as Russia blocks grain exports from Ukraine, as well as humanitarian issues, including the release of prisoners and the return of Ukrainian children taken to Russia.

Russian Criticism and Tensions Ahead

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova dismissed the Malta talks as a “blatantly anti-Russian event” and said that such gatherings have absolutely no perspective, they are simply counterproductive. Both Russia and Ukraine are preparing for a gruelling winter ahead, with Ukraine warning of renewed strikes on its energy infrastructure and Russia pushing back against Kyiv’s counteroffensive. The organisers were hoping for a joint statement from the Malta summit, after both previous meetings ended without a final declaration. Zelensky insisted Kyiv’s peace plan was gaining traction around the world, saying, “World unity is what is really needed for the aggressors to lose.”

SOURCE: Ref Image from Sawt Beirut International

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