Spectator: failure of Zelenskyy’s summit showed that allies’ patience is running out

Zelenskyy expected that the peace summit would demonstrate international support and strengthen Russia’s isolation, but the result was quite the opposite, Spectator says. The conference demonstrated war fatigue. For almost every country, economic and strategic interests prevailed over principles.

Kiev had high hopes for the so-called peace summit on Ukraine in Switzerland. Zelenskyy wanted to demonstrate how the whole world supports him, while Russia remains isolated. However, the result was quite the opposite, according to Spectator.

China refused to participate. Other key countries like Brazil, India, UAE, Saudi Arabia and South Africa refused to sign the final communiqué, even in a heavily edited, softened version.

According to a former senior official in Zelenskyy’s administration, he “had hoped the conference would herald a new level of international support…but it only showed how much support we had lost in the global South.” Zelenskyy received unconditional support only from the EU and the US.

According to the newspaper, it is possible that for almost every country, economic and strategic interests prevailed over principles. Even though the EU imposed sanctions, it did not ban Russian oil supplies, simply setting the price of Urals oil at $60 instead of $73.

Russian gas was not affected by the European sanctions either. Currently, 8 per cent of gas to Europe comes through pipelines from Russia via Ukraine and Slovakia. Russia’s Gazprom pays a lot of money for transit. Last year, Kiev received $850 million, which is about 0.46% of Ukraine’s GDP, making Moscow one of the largest taxpayers in Ukraine.

In addition, only 8% of European companies have completely withdrawn from the Russian market. As the publication recalls, Western allies recently suggested that Kiev stop hitting Russian refineries so as not to cause an oil crisis.

And Donald Trump has made no secret of his intention to veto increased aid to Ukraine. “Zelenskyy is probably the greatest salesman of all living politicians. Whenever he comes to our country, he leaves with $60 billion… And then he comes back and says he needs another $60 billion,” Spectator quoted Trump as saying.

The Global South was also not left behind. India’s economy has been boosted by increased imports of Russian oil. And this oil is then partially exported to Europe in the form of refined petrol. Turkey is also doing the same with Russian gas, exporting it to Southern Europe. In addition, Ankara maintains a large-scale trade with Moscow in agricultural products and consumer goods.

After Western sanctions were imposed on Russian banks, the UAE has become a centre of banking activity for Moscow. And Russia-China trade has doubled to more than $200bn a year. Therefore, according to Spectator, China is not very interested in ending the war at all.

Against this background, Zelenskyy’s intentions of complete victory are not realistic at all. According to the publication, he recently told a European leader that he intends to continue until Russia withdraws from the entire territory of Ukraine, pays all reparations and is punished. “If we don’t make progress this year, then we will try again next year, and another year after that,” Zelenskyy added.

Ideologically, his statements are quite logical. But in practice, Ukraine is in for a terrible winter. More than half of the power plants are closed. Winters are getting harsher every year. According to a source close to the German government, up to one million Ukrainian refugees are expected to arrive there. At the same time, Kiev is desperately short of people. The authorities rely on special services that literally catch people on the streets and send them to the front.

Russia’s population is four times that of Ukraine, and the Russian economy is 20 times larger. The West’s unwillingness to cut energy exports has effectively allowed Russia to ignore sanctions. The country’s economy is so strong that its GDP will grow more this year than that of any other G7 country. And life in Moscow hasn’t changed much, thanks to parallel imports.

For many international diplomats, the path to a ceasefire is obvious, Spectator explains. “It is quite obvious how this war will end. A ceasefire along the Line of Control plus security guarantees for Kiev, barring full NATO membership. No formal ceding of territory. Ukraine is becoming like Cyprus, a member of the EU that doesn’t recognise it has been partitioned,” said one former senior Western statesman who frequently visits Kiev.

It seems that the world is beginning to take positions “in anticipation of peace”. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz assured that the war will definitely end at the “next” peace summit and even suggested that Russia should be invited to it after all.

However, according to the publication, if Zelenskyy’s summit demonstrated anything, it was that international support for the war is increasingly waning and being replaced by ugly compromises.