Ukraine war latest: Putin makes 'absurd attempt to seduce West'; leaders call for Olympics truce (2024)

Key points
  • Putin's 'absurd' peace proposal a 'hollow attempt to seduce the West'
  • Western leaders back Olympic global conflict truce, Italy says
  • More than 90 countries at peace summit - but Biden and other key players skip talks
  • US announces $1.5bn in aid for Ukraine
  • Dominic Waghorn analysis: It's a bad week for Putin - but Kyiv's allies face an uncertain future
  • Big picture:Everything you need to know about the war right now
  • Your questions answered:Are there any signs of an underground resistance in Russia?
  • Live reporting by Brad Young


Good night

That's all for our live coverage today, but we'll be back with more live updates and analysis soon.

If you're just checking in, here is a recap of the key moments that occurred over the last 24 hours.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskyy kicked off a peace summit in Switzerland that excluded Russia;
  • Joe Biden skipped the event - sending vice president Kamala Harris instead - and China declined an invitation;
  • White House national security adviser branded Russia's latest so-called peace proposal a "completely absurd vision", after Vladimir Putin called for Ukraine to give up almost 20% of its land;
  • The head of the EU Commission said freezing the conflict as it stands was "a recipe for future wars of aggression";
  • But Saudi Arabia - touted as the potential host of a follow-up summit - said peace talks must involve "difficult compromise";
  • Meanwhile, Russia blamed Ukraine for attacks that killed six people in Belgorod last night, while Ukraine said Russia killed three people with cluster munitions in a Ukrainian village today;
  • The G7 unanimously backed a French proposal to request a global truce during the Olympic Games, the Italian prime minister said.


Draft peace summit statement condemns nuclear threats and demands return of deported children

A draft statement at the Swiss peace summit recognises Russia's war in Ukraine continues to cause large-scale human suffering and destruction, Reuters reports.

"We reaffirm out commitment to refraining from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state... including Ukraine," reads the statement.

"Any threat or use of nuclear weapons in the context of the ongoing war against Ukraine is inadmissible."

The communique continues: "Ukrainian nuclear power plants and installations... must operate safely and securely under full sovereign control of Ukraine."

It calls for prisoners of war to be released, and all deported and unlawfully displaced Ukrainian children or unlawfully detained Ukrainian civilians to be returned to Ukraine.

The statement also pushes for "free, full and safe" commercial travel via sea ports in the Black Sea and Azov Sea.

"We underscore our commitment to upholding international law, including the UN charter."


First Russian and Belarusian athletes vetted for Olympics

The first batch of Russian and Belarusian athletes have been cleared to compete at next month's Paris Olympics, with a total of 25 making the cut.

Another 16failed an International Olympic Committee vetting process over the war in Ukraine, the IOC said, the spaces for which will be distributed to other countries.

Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to qualify as neutrals so long as they have not actively supported the war in Ukraine and have not been contracted to any military or security agency.

The vetting process means the countries will have sportspeople competing in some events, like road cycling and trampolining, but in others neither country has qualified, such as taekwondo.

In this round of vetting, Russia cleared 14 athletes for 24 allocated spots, while 11 Belarusian athletes passed the process for 17 spots.

Once all applicants are vetted, the IOC said it expects to see about 36 Russian and 22 Belarusian athletes competing as neutrals, out of 54 and 28 spots respectively.


Russia says Ukrainian attacks kill six in Belgorod

Russia has blamed Ukraine for attacks that killed six people in Belgorod last night.

Russia's emergencies ministry said four bodies were pulled from the rubble of a five-story apartment building in the town of Shebekino.

Pictures showed a crane clearing debris and a building's facade shattered, with one stairwell collapsed.

Regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said a Ukrainian drone struck a car in a village near Shebekino, killing the driver.

He also said a woman was killed in her home when it was struck by rocket fire in the village of Oktyabrsky, further west.

There was no immediate comment from Kyiv.

Russia launched a fresh incursion across the border from Belgorod in Kharkiv last month, opening up a second front in the war.


In pictures: Back on the frontlines in Ukraine

While world leaders gather to discuss peace in Switzerland, troops continue to fight on the frontlines in Ukraine.

Pictures show apartment buildings reduced to rubble in residential areas turned to ghost-towns to the east.

In Toretsk, Donetsk region, the frames of windows are all that is left of one block, hanging between two others.

Meanwhile, in Chasiv Yar, Ukrainian soldiers were photographed firing 120mm mortar towards Russian positions.


Potential host of follow-up summit says 'difficult compromise' required

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says any peace talks will involve "difficult compromise".

The country is viewed as one of the leading candidates to host what is being mooted as a follow-up conference to this weekend's gathering of dozens of world leaders in Switzerland.

Speaking at the Swiss peace summit, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said any credible negotiations will need Russia's participation.

"We believe it is important that the international communityencourage any step towards serious negotiations which willrequire difficult compromise as part of a road map that leads to peace."


Macron blasts Russian 'war crimes' | US brands Putin's peace plan 'completely absurd'

World leaders are speaking throughout the day in Switzerland at a peace summit called by Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

We're bringing you the key moments from the talks, and this update includes comments on nuclear safety, war crimes and Vladimir Putin's "absurd vision".

Emmanuel Macron

The French leader says one of the key priorities of the talks must be about securing nuclear safety around the Zaporizhizhia power plant.

Allies must also "not to accept any complacency vis-a-vis the attacks targeting civilian targets and infrastructure in Ukraine. These are war crimes", he said.

Russia has denied all allegations of war crimes.

"What is at stake is our international rules and the possibility to have peace everywhere. Because in launching this war, Russia decided first to be an imperialist regime," said Mr Macron.

"This summit is a milestone to reiterate our attachment to the core principles of our international laws."

Jake Sullivan

The WhiteHouse national security adviser branded Russia's latest peace proposal a "completely absurd vision."

It would only lead tofurther domination of the country, he said.

China's absence from the peace summit was probably a result of entreaties from Russia notto attend, Mr Sullivan added.

Finnish president

Finland's president Alexander Stubb called for follow-up talks as soon as possible because "peace is... always a process".

"We have 1,300 kilometres of border with Russia... Russiainvaded Finland in World War Two, we lost 10% of our territory,including the land where my grandparents were born and where myfather was born."


Key comments from Zelenskyy, Sunak and EU chief at peace summit

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said Moscow was not invited to the Swiss summit because the Kremlin is not interested in peace.

European commission President Ursula von der Leyen told world leaders accepting Russian troops on Ukrainian land was a "recipe for future wars of aggression".

And Rishi Sunak was asked whether the West has been too scared of Vladimir Putin to help Ukraine defeat him.

Here are the details...

Volodymyr Zelenskyy

"There is no need to reinvent the wheel when the UN charter already defines the foundations of peace and normal co-existence of peoples," he told leaders gathered near Lucerne.

"There is no Russia here - why? Because if Russia was interested in peace, there would be no war.

"We must decide together what a just peace means for the world and how it can be achieved in a truly lasting way."

Ursula von der Leyen

"Freezing the conflict today, with foreign troops occupyingUkrainian land, is not the answer.

"It is a recipe for futurewars of aggression.

"Instead we need to support a comprehensive, just andsustainable peace for Ukraine. One that restores Ukraine'ssovereignty and its territorial integrity."

Rishi Sunak

Asked if the West has been too scared of Vladimir Putin to help Ukraine defeat him, he said the UK was " not going anywhere" and Kyiv's allies are "with Ukraine for as long as it takes".

"Crucially at the G7 summit over the past few days we reached a landmark agreement to make sure it's Russia who pays for more military support and economic reconstruction of Ukraine using trapped and seized Russian assets".


Putin's 'absurd' peace proposal a 'hollow attempt to seduce the West'

Vladimir Putin's purported interest in peace negotiations is a hollow attempt to "seduce" the West, war analysts say.

His "absurd ultimatums" are part of a campaign to sabotage the Swiss peace conference and mislead Kyiv's allies to permit the violation of Ukrainian sovereignty, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

The Russian leader's so-called peace plan included Ukraine surrendering almost 20% of its territory and abandoning its aspirations to join NATO, and the West lifting all sanctions and recognising part of Ukraine as Russian.

"The Kremlin is not interested in good faith negotiations with Ukraine and only feigns its interest in negotiations as part of a wider informational effort intended to convince the West to pre-emptively make concessions that violate Ukraine's sovereignty," said the ISW.

Mr Putin's demands would "irrevocably damage the principle of state sovereignty and the inviolability of international borders".

The ISW called Mr Putin's promise to respect a ceasefire "particularly hollow following months of Russian war crimes against Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of war".

Russia denies allegations of committing war crimes.

The International Criminal Court has issued a warrant for Mr Putin's arrest.

"Putin's demands continue to reflect his long-demanded ultimatums that are based on presuppositions that deny the existence of an independent and sovereign Ukraine and that seek to seduce the West to pre-emptively compromise on Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," said the ISW.


Relatives of captive soldiers plead for more pressure on Moscow

Demonstrators have travelled hundreds of miles to plead their case as world leaders arrive in Switzerland.

Some 250 people, many of them relatives of Ukrainian soldiers, waved banners and shouted slogans in Lucerne to draw attention to the fate of troops taken prisoner by Russia.

Many do not know if their loved ones have been killed or taken.

"I must do everything in my power to get my husband back," said Svitlana Bilous, 34, from Kharkiv.

"I'm clinging to the idea that my husband is still alive... that's what keeps me going. If I could send him a message, it would be simply that I love him."

Anatoliy went missing in April last year and Svitlana has only heard he is alive but has had no direct contact with him.

"We want specific actions regarding the return of prisoners
of war, admission of the International Committee of the Red
Cross to all places of detention," she said.

The families want the world powers in attendance at Volodymyr Zelenskyy's peace summit to find ways to press Moscow to hand over information, improve the conditions of any captives and send them home.

Approximately 8,000 people - civilians and soldiers - are in Russian hands, Ukrainian officials said in February.

"All of us have the same dream," said one women at the demonstration.

"We want our relatives to be found and returned from captivity."

Ukraine war latest: Putin makes 'absurd attempt to seduce West'; leaders call for Olympics truce (2024)
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