In an interview with the Foreign Policy media outlet, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba hinted that peace negotiations with Russia might commence once Ukraine establishes a peace coalition.

Switzerland is set to host a high-level peace conference next month. Responding to concerns about holding a peace summit without the war-initiating party, Kuleba highlighted two strategies to engage Russia in sincere dialogue.

“Your point is valid if you address the war that Russia launched against Ukraine with textbook diplomacy, because all textbooks that we learned from tell us that you need two parties to sit down and negotiate,” he told the Foreign Policy media.

Kuleba acknowledged the ineffectiveness of Ukraine’s extensive diplomatic efforts between 2014 and 2022, which included nearly 200 rounds of talks with Russia in various formats. “But nothing worked. It ended up in the large-scale invasion [of 2022],” he said.

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“So, we know that it doesn't make sense to have Russia at the table if you cannot ensure that they act in good faith,” Kuleba added.

He outlined two prerequisites for genuine engagement with Russia: battlefield success and the formation of a coalition of like-minded countries.

“So, this is why the summit does not intend to have Russia as a participant,” Kuleba said.

The minister reported that the summit's objective is to unite countries sharing common principles, paving the way for coordinated actions. He said, “After that [creating the coalition], communication with Russia may take place and Russia can be part of the talks. Because you are right: in the end, you cannot put the war to an end without both parties.”

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Some Russian media outlets and Ukrainian Telegram channels have misrepresented Kuleba's remarks, suggesting immediate peace talks after the Swiss conference.

However, according to Kuleba’s statement, while the conference aims to create a coalition, it’s uncertain if this outcome will be achieved during the event. He did not assert definitive negotiations post-conference, as the coalition's formation remains uncertain.

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The Swiss government last week announced it would host a high-level peace conference for Ukraine in mid-June, but Russia would not attend it.

Moscow said holding the peace conference makes “no sense” unless Russia participates. Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated last week that any action on Ukraine that “ignores Russia’s position” was “detached from reality” and had “no perspective.”

The Kremlin has repeatedly said it will not participate in any negotiations unless Kyiv accepts Russia's annexation of the roughly 20 percent of Ukraine's territory it currently occupies.

Less than a week after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, peace talks commenced. Despite Putin’s bold claim of reaching Kyiv within three days, it quickly became evident that such a swift victory was unlikely. Thus, multiple rounds of negotiations ensued between Moscow, Kyiv, and other parties, offering a potential halt to the war at its outset.

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Fast forward two years and little has changed in the entrenched positions of both sides. Each continues to view a military triumph over the other as the only viable path forward. With the military stalemate apparent, many argue that the time is ripe to reinitiate peace talks. Reports of clandestine discussions between US and Russian officials have surfaced, alongside public peace overtures from Ukraine itself and countries like China, the Vatican, Brazil, Mexico, and others.

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