The list of countries coming to the Ukrainian-led talks to bring an end to the war in Ukraine is growing – however, China’s absence was felt.

The national security and foreign policy advisers of 66 countries from all continents of the world gathered in Malta to finalize the formulation of the points of the Ukrainian Peace Formula ahead of a planned Global Peace Summit, that would involve heads of state and government.

There was a certain symbolism in the choice of the venue.

In 1989, at the height of the Cold War, a historic meeting between Gorbachev and George Bush Sr. took place in Malta.

“It is very symbolic that we have such a strong manifestation of international unity today, on Oct. 28, the anniversary of the expulsion of the Nazis from the territory of Ukraine during the Second World War” President Zelensky said in a video address.

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“Then the Ukrainian people, together with many nations, fought evil. It was unity that gave the peoples the necessary strength,” he said.

After the event, the presidential press service presented the statement of the co-chairs regarding the key principles of peace in Ukraine and the world.

It briefly outlines the content of the work on the Ukrainian peace plan, as well as some of the results of the Maltese round:

“During this open and constructive meeting, the participants discussed the key principles on which a comprehensive, just and lasting peace for Ukraine should be reached and built. Achieving such a peace for Ukraine would be a significant contribution to strengthening international peace and security. Peace must be based on the principles of the UN Charter, respect for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly and international law,” the report reads.

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The meeting in Malta did not bring any specifics regarding the holding of the inaugural Global Peace Summit however. The Global Peace Summit would include world leaders.

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Currently, “the parties plan to take the necessary steps to prepare for this event,” the report says.

Keeping attention on Ukraine 

Head of the Office of the President Andriy Yermak said it hasn’t been easy keeping the world focused on Ukraine due to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

“But we managed to do it. It is very important that during such events we managed to gather, and not just come together, but to gather 66 countries representing all the continents of the world and to talk specifically about Ukraine,” he said in an interview with TSN.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba said that the Maltese meeting, which took place from Oct. 28-29, destroyed the myth of a forgotten Ukraine amid the events in the Middle East and the myth that Ukraine is losing support from the Global South.

“There is a place for everyone in the formula. However, there is no place for pseudo-pacifism. It is a pragmatic document bringing the principles of the UN Charter to life,” Kuleba wrote on Instagram.

“Ukraine continues to actively work on its implementation and preparation for the Global Peace Summit, at which the leaders will record the agreements and proceed to their implementation,” he wrote.  

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The number of countries involved is growing

There were a larger number of states attending the Malta peace conference as compared to the previous meeting in Jeddah in early August.

One of the “newcomers” in Malta was a representative of Armenia, Secretary of the Security Council Armen Grigoryan.

On the other hand, the absence of China's representative Li Hui in the third round came as a surprise.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not receive an official reason.

However, the day before, Deputy Head of the President's Office Ihor Zhovkva told Kyiv Post that in Jeddah the Chinese representative had insisted on the need for the next meeting to be in a similar format.

Regarding the states participating in the meeting, Adviser to the Head of the President's Office Daria Zarivna said that there were a number of representatives from the Global South.

However, it is impossible to estimate the scale of the event, since the Ukrainian side has not yet published the full list of the participating countries.

The focus is on the five main points of the Peace Formula

The implementation of five out of ten points of the Ukrainian peace plan were discussed in Malta, namely nuclear and radiation security, energy security, food security, humanitarian issues (release of all prisoners and deported persons), restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the world order.

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After the Maltese meeting, the head of the President's Office stated that there were real results of work of the Peace Formula.

In particular, the parties supported the initiative to create an international coalition for the return of Ukrainian children abducted by Russia within the framework of the humanitarian direction.

“I think that the process of creating this coalition will be very fast, because very powerful countries have joined it. We should expect real news in the near future,” Yermak said.

He singled out Qatar among the countries that have joined efforts to return Ukrainian children.

A step towards the implementation of security guarantees for Ukraine

Another important result was Italy's joining the G7 joint declaration on security guarantees for Ukraine (this declaration was concluded at the NATO summit in Vilnius - ed.), as well as the country's readiness to join the implementation of Zelensky's Peace Formula.

Yermak and Advisor to the Italian Prime Minister on Foreign Policy Francesco Talo reached these agreements at a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the summit. The parties also emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation during Italy's presidency of the G7 in 2024.

A just peace for Ukraine

According to Yermak, the participants in the Maltese meeting have a unified position regarding full support of Ukraine regardless of the events at the front – that they respect Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity.

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“(They) are really interested in the war in Ukraine ending and a just peace coming to our land... After today's meeting, I have confirmation that the world believes in Ukraine, the world is betting on Ukraine and is absolutely sure of our victory,” he said.

Yermak said that the phrase “just peace” was heard in almost every speech.

The number of countries involved in the work on the Ukrainian Peace Formula is growing significantly as are diplomatic efforts.

The Ukrainian negotiating team was led by Yermak and included his deputies Ihor Zhovkva and Andriy Sybiha, his advisors Oleksandr Bevz and Daria Zarivna, Minister of Energy Herman Galushchenko, First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine - Minister of Economy Yulia Svyrydenko, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mykola Tochytsky, Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets, and MP Halyna Mykhailiuk.

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