On the anniversary of Ukraine’s 10-point Peace Plan presentation at last year's summit of G20 leaders, Kyiv Post met with Ihor Zhovkva, the man who Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has charged with pushing forward Ukraine’s vision for ending the war.

In the interview, Zhovka talked about Ukraine’s intensive year-long diplomatic efforts to get the world on board and about the upcoming Global Peace Summit that would include world leaders – and which would kick off Ukraine’s peace plan in earnest.

Work on the Peace Plan, also called the “Peace Formula” began long before Zelensky first publicly mentioned it at the UN General Assembly in September 2022 and much of its planning happened out of sight of journalists.

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However, today, Kyiv is opening up about both its achievements and the challenges it’s faced – particularly regarding frozen Russian assets, planning a special tribunal for war crimes, and both bilateral and multilateral security agreements.

You can read the first part of the interview here.

Almost a year has passed since the presentation of the Peace Formula by President Zelensky. The first meeting in this format took place at the end of June. What moment can be considered the start of the implementation of the Peace Formula points?

The moment will be the inaugural summit, which is why it should be held as soon as possible.

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Every president or prime minister with whom we communicate is acquainted with the Peace Formula. No one needs any explanation of what it is.

Let me remind you that when Zelensky presented the Peace Formula during the summit in Bali, it was news even for the G20 countries.

After that, the president explained to the leaders of other countries what it meant. He spoke at international venues. The head of the president's office and I also spoke.

In June, when the first 15 countries were ready, we organized the first meeting of national security advisors.

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Then, ten more European countries, as well as representatives of the European Union, the European Commission, and four countries of the Global South – namely Brazil, India, the Republic of South Africa and Saudi Arabia joined.

At the first meeting, we did not approve the document but talked specifically about the Ukrainian Peace Formula. Before that, we carefully prepared the wording of each of its points.

Today, almost two-and-a-half months after the meeting in Jeddah, action plans for each of the ten points are ready.

How long was the Peace Formula being prepared before the presentation at the G20 summit in Bali, or was it a spontaneous idea?

No, it was not spontaneous. The president mentioned the first five points of the Peace Formula at the UN General Assembly in September 2022.

In the period between the UN General Assembly and the G20 meeting, we refined these points. Added new ones. Work continued in the President's Office. The president personally participated. We also involved our Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Similarly, there is nothing spontaneous about the preparations for the Global Peace Summit.

Much as we might like the summit to take place tomorrow, we have to prepare for it carefully.

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We have to choose the venue, the country, and the date in such a way that the largest possible number of leaders, particularly from the Global South, will be able to attend. It is not enough for us to organize a purely European or even Euro-Atlantic summit.

Our Euro-Atlantic partners have supported us from the beginning, while we had to work a little more with the countries of the Global South.

There were no pauses between the G20 Summit in Bali and the first meeting in Copenhagen. It was hard work, and journalists are not always aware of that.

Believe me, there will be something to tell the press after the meeting in Malta.

How was the venue chosen this time?

There were several options. We chose Malta because this country, firstly, offered its services.

Secondly, Malta is an EU country, but it is not a member of NATO. In addition, this country actively participates in bringing the implementation of the Peace Formula closer.

There is also a certain symbolism here. In 1989, at the height of the Cold War, a historic meeting between Gorbachev and George Bush Sr. took place in Malta.

We rotate meetings. The first meeting was in Europe, then in the Global South, and now again in Europe.

How does Ukraine see ‘victory’ now? What is the tenth point of the Peace Formula about?

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The understanding of victory has not changed and will never change.

This is the complete restoration of Ukraine within its borders as of Aug. 24,1991.

This is the only way we can talk about a complete victory for the Ukrainian people.

No other narratives work.

Of course, this is also bringing to justice those who committed the crime of aggression.

That’s why we demand the creation of a special tribunal. We are working with our partners to ensure that a full-fledged tribunal is indeed established in accordance with international law.

In the same way, it is not enough to freeze Russian assets. It is necessary to think about how to use them for the restoration of Ukraine, for example, in the liberated territories.

By the way, during a visit to Belgium, Zelensky met with Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, who said that even now, while lawyers are trying to unfreeze the funds, it is possible to use taxes on interest from the frozen Russian assets.

The prime minister named the specific amount of €1.7 billion ($1.8 billion), which can be used starting next year. Yes, this is not the amount we need, but these funds are necessary for faster recovery and for additional weapons.

Some countries, in turn, are already working on legislation on the use of frozen assets, for example – Estonia, Canada. There is no need to wait for victory, it’s necessary to act now.

Canada is one of the countries with which Ukraine is negotiating a bilateral agreement on the provision of security guarantees.

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As a part of the Peace Formula, Zelensky commissioned the development of a UN General Assembly draft resolution for the creation of a Special Tribunal (to put Putin and collaborators on trial) back in June. At what stage is that now?

Work on the draft resolution continues. I won't hide the fact it’s not easy. We have different positions – even among the 38 states that are in the core group regarding the tribunal.

No one disputes the need to create the tribunal, but there are different positions on its format. One says that it should be an international tribunal, and another says that it should be a tribunal in accordance with Ukrainian legislation.

We clearly state that we need a full-fledged, ad hoc international tribunal based on an international agreement, or using a UN resolution.

Can the Peace Formula become the basis for bilateral security agreements between Ukraine and other countries?

This is, in fact, the ninth point of the Peace Formula. It is about security guarantees and preventing the recurrence of aggression.

Here I would refer to the declaration passed at the Vilnius NATO summit providing security guarantees for Ukraine.

It was signed by the G7 states, as well as the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council. Today, a total of 29 states have joined this declaration.

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We’ve reached the level of bilateral documents.

On Oct. 19, I started negotiations with France, the fifth G7 country with which we are negotiating direct bilateral documents on security guarantees.

We want to hold such negotiations with all the G7 states, and later with those countries that joined after.

By the way, the five Nordic group countries got involved the day after the Vilnius summit and signed a joint declaration.

We can talk about multilateral security guarantees between Ukraine and the Nordic Region states.

Let me remind you of the successful experience of holding the Nordic-Ukrainian summit in Finland a month after this country joined NATO.

The president of Ukraine visited Helsinki and held talks with not only the Finnish president and the then speaker, and now Prime Minister of Finland, Petteri Orpo, but also with the leaders of other Nordic Region countries who arrived in the Finnish capital.

I can announce that Ukraine wants to repeat this experience, to hold a similar Nordic-Ukrainian summit.

Of course, among other things, we’ll talk there about the beginning of negotiations on security guarantees and additional weapons supplies.

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