China Set to Skip Ukraine Talks as Zelenskiy Blueprint Struggles

(Bloomberg) -- China is not expected to attend a meeting of national security advisers in Malta this weekend where officials from more than 55 nations will discuss Ukraine’s drive to build support for its so-called peace formula.

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The list of attendees includes the Group of Seven countries, Qatar, South Africa, India and Turkey, according to people familiar with the matter. Some countries like Brazil and Chile are expected to participate online.

Beijing’s absence would be a disappointment for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy who is trying to build international support for his blueprint for a lasting and just peace.

Ukraine has been aiming to host a summit later this year and getting Beijing on board is seen as crucial to those efforts, the people said, since China is one of the few countries believed to have some influence on Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

The Malta meeting follows similar gatherings in Denmark in June and Saudi Arabia in August. China sent a delegate to the gathering in Jeddah.

Zelenskiy’s 10-point formula calls for the full withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine and covers other topics such as returning deportees and prisoners of war as well as ensuring food security and nuclear safety.

His allies see the meetings mostly as a platform for officials from Kyiv to make their case directly to nations that have remained largely neutral on Russia’s invasion, especially those in the Global South. Buy-in from those countries is seen as a key condition for holding a summit.

As part of the same process, Ukraine has also aimed to set up working groups around the main topics of the formula but those have gained little traction among the nations Kyiv most wants to court through this process.

Still, one of the people said, continuing to engage skeptical nations was fundamental and useful, even if progress was slow.

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