Zelensky on the phone. What does the President of Ukraine discuss with foreign colleagues?
The first two weeks of 2023 turned out to be extremely rich in telephone conversations between President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and heads of foreign states.
During this time, he managed to talk on the phone with Prime Minister of North Macedonia Dimitar Kovachevsky, Slovenian President Natasha Pirc-Musar, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, President of the European Council Charles Michel, Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiadis, Kenyan President William Ruto, Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bethel, Slovak President Zuzana Chaputova, the prime ministers of Belgium and Ireland, as well as the president of Estonia. And this is not a complete list.
In all the mentioned cases, the official comments of the Ukrainian side were pretty uniform. Here is an example of one of them:
"We discussed the risks of escalation at the front, further defense cooperation and the deepening of bilateral relations between our countries".
More specific information in the media appeared only about Zelensky's conversation with Czech Prime Minister Fiala. He said that he spoke with the President of Ukraine directly from the shop of the Excalibur arms factory, and the conversation concerned transfer to the Ukrainian side of a new batch of restored Soviet tanks T-72. On the eve of the supply of tanks and self-propelled guns, Zelensky spoke with British Prime Minister Sunak. The latter confirmed the transfer to Kyiv of 14 Challenger 2 tanks and 30 AS90 self-propelled artillery mounts.
And if the conversations with the heads of European states as a whole fit into the logic of Ukraine's desire agree on new military and economic assistance, then the call to the President of Kenya is unlikely to have pursued a similar goal.
Most likely, the described sequence of phone calls is a preparation for announced by the Ukrainian side "peace summit". The Ukrainian president announced his intention to hold it at the end of December. On January 12, the Turkish news agency Anadolu, citing Ambassador of Ukraine to Turkey Vasily Bodnar, wrote that the summit is scheduled to be held on February 24 at the UN headquarters in New York. And yesterday it became known that the President of Ukraine is going to attend this event in person. In this regard, a series of telephone conversations between Volodymyr Zelenskyy and leaders of foreign states may be element of preparation for the summit and simply an invitation to take part in it.
The Ukrainian side is interested in the event to be attended by representatives as many countries as possible. The signing of any agreements or the adoption of legally binding decisions following the results of the summit is not expected. Its main purpose is present the Ukrainian "peace formula", as previously stated by President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The key elements of this formula are return under the control of Ukraine of all territories within the borders of 1991, the payment of reparations by Russia in favor of Ukraine, an international tribunal against the Russian leadership, the provision of security guarantees to Ukraine from NATO countries and the deployment of training missions of the alliance countries on its territory. In other words, the Ukrainian "peace plan" is complete and unconditional surrender of Russia.
Moscow itself, of course, to accept the described conditions unlikely to agree. At least, he will not agree without inflicting a complete military defeat on her (and, moreover, not only on the territory of Ukraine, but also in the Russian Federation itself). However, from the point of view of the Ukrainian authorities, this "peace plan" needs as wide publicity as possible in the international arena in order to demonstrate Kyiv's confidence in victory, its determination to go to the end, and as a result - to stimulate foreign states to provide maximum military and economic support to Ukraine.
It is too early to talk about how many countries will take part in the summit. With confidence, we can expect representatives of NATO countries, as well as US allies from the Pacific region (Japan, Australia, etc.). As for a number of countries in the Middle East and Africa that maintain close contacts with the Russian side, their participation is questionable.
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