Ukraine aims for February peace summit

Kyiv: Some 9 million people in Ukraine still don’t have power although repair work is under way to fix the electricity grid which sustained heavy damage in Russian attacks, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that his government is aiming to have a peace summit by the end of February, preferably at the United Nations with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as a possible mediator, around the time of the anniversary of Russia’s war.

“The United Nations could be the best venue for holding this summit, because this is not about making a favor to a certain country,” Kuleba said. “This is really about bringing everyone on board.”

Asked about whether they would invite Russia to the summit, he said that first that country would need to be seated to be prosecuted for war crimes at an international court, for example. “They can only be invited to this step in this way,” Kuleba said.

About Guterres’ role, Kuleba said: “He has proven himself to be an efficient mediator and an efficient negotiator, and most importantly, as a man of principle and integrity. So we would welcome his active participation.”

The Ukrainian minister also told the AP news agency that he was “absolutely satisfied” with the results of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to the US last week, and he revealed that the US government has made a special plan to get the Patriot missile battery ready to be operational in the country in less than six months. Usually, the training takes up to a year.

Kuleba said that Ukraine will do whatever it can to win the war in 2023, adding that diplomacy always plays an important role. “Every war ends in a diplomatic way,” he said. “Every war ends as a result of the actions taken on the battlefield and at the negotiating table.”

“The situation as of this evening in different regions of Ukraine is that nearly nine million people are without electricity. But the numbers and the length of the blackouts are gradually decreasing,” he said in his nightly address.

Zelenskyy also said that important decisions had been made during consultations with government representatives on the energy and infrastructure situation. “We are preparing for the next year, not only for the winter months,” he said.

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