Ukraine ready for ceasefire ‘tomorrow’

ukraine ready for ceasefire ‘tomorrow’

Volodymyr Zelensky during the peace summit in Switzerland - ALESSANDRO DELLA VALLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Volodymyr Zelensky has said that he would be open to peace talks “tomorrow” with Russia if it pulled its troops out of his country.

“Russia can start the negotiations with us tomorrow, not waiting for anything, if they pull out from our legal territories,” the Ukrainian leader said.

His message came at the end of a diplomatic summit in Switzerland, which saw 80 countries jointly calling for the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine to be the basis for any peace agreement to end Russia’s two-year war.

Earlier on Sunday, however, Russia claimed to capture another village, and the Kremlin spokesman said that Kyiv should “reflect” on Vladimir Putin’s demand for Kyiv’s effective surrender as a basis for peace talks.

“The current dynamic of the situation at the front shows us clearly that it’s continuing to worsen for the Ukrainians. It’s probable that a politician who puts the interests of his country above his own and those of his masters would reflect on such a proposal,” said Dmitry Peskov.

05:33 PM BST

That’s all for today

Thank you for following our live blog coverage. On Sunday 16 June, Volodymyr Zelensky said that he would be open to peace talks “tomorrow” with Russia if it pulled its troops out of his country. His message came at the end of a diplomatic summit in Switzerland, which saw 80 countries jointly calling for the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine to be the basis for any peace agreement to end Russia’s two-year war. However, he also said that Russia was “not ready” to discuss a just and lasting peace.

Other key developments from the day were:

  • Ukraine should “reflect” on Vladimir Putin’s call for Kyiv to withdraw its troops from the east and south of the country in order to open peace talks, as its military situation is worsening, the Kremlin said.
  • Russian forces took control of the village of Zahirne in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, the Russia’s defence ministry said, continuing its progress on the front line.
  • US military ammunition resupplies have reached front line Ukrainian units but not yet in large enough quantities to reverse Russian momentum, a senior Ukrainian commander said.
  • Saudi Arabia, India, South Africa, Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates were among countries participating at a summit on peace for Ukraine that did not sign a final communique.
  • A follow-up summit to this weekend’s talks in Switzerland aimed at paving the way for peace in Ukraine is conceivable before the US presidential election in November, said Ignazio Cassis, the Swiss foreign minister.
  • Qatar helped to mediate the return from Russia of 30 or more Ukrainian children to their families, according to Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser.
  • A Russian journalist was killed in a drone attack in eastern Ukraine, his news organisation said, days after the death of another correspondent near the front line.
  • Norway said it will provide 1.1 billion kroner ($103 million) to Ukraine to help repair its energy infrastructure and secure the country’s electricity supply before next winter.
  • The crew of the Ukrainian-owned and Polish-operated M/V Verbena abandoned ship after being attacked by Yemeni Houthis.

04:54 PM BST

Zelensky posts video of final speech from peace summit

04:40 PM BST

Canada plans meeting to tackle human cost of Ukraine war

Canada plans to host a gathering of foreign ministers in the coming months to advance work on the human cost of the war in Ukraine, said Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister.

Canada will also provide Ukraine with 52.4 million Canadian dollars ($38.1 million) in various aid, the government announced.

04:24 PM BST

British MoD releases footage of Ukrainian recruits training

04:06 PM BST

Putin piles pressure on Ukraine as Russian troops capture more ground

Ukraine should “reflect” on Vladimir Putin’s call for Kyiv to withdraw its troops from the east and south of the country in order to open peace talks, as its military situation is worsening, the Kremlin said Sunday.

“The current dynamic of the situation at the front shows us clearly that it’s continuing to worsen for the Ukrainians. It’s probable that a politician who puts the interests of his country above his own and those of his masters would reflect on such a proposal,” said Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman.

The statement came as Russia claimed to capture another village, Zahirne, in southern Ukraine.

ukraine ready for ceasefire ‘tomorrow’

Servicemen of 24th Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces fire a 120-mm mortar towards Russian troops - UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES

Meanwhile, a senior Ukrainian commander said that US military ammunition resupplies have finally reached front line Ukrainian units – but not yet in large enough quantities to reverse Russian momentum.

Lieutenant General Ivan Havrylyuk, first deputy defence minister, said that most of the equipment and ammunition pledged by the US in April was still in transit.

“It takes time to load ships that must then cross the Atlantic,” he told the Associated Press, adding that artillery shells had arrived. “But we are already seeing the results.”

04:02 PM BST

Another Ukraine summit possible before US election, Swiss minister says

A follow-up summit to this weekend’s talks in Switzerland aimed at paving the way for peace in Ukraine is conceivable before the US presidential election in November, said Ignazio Cassis, the Swiss foreign minister.

Where the next Ukraine conference could be held was unclear at the conclusion of the summit of world leaders at the Buergenstock resort in central Switzerland.

03:35 PM BST

Zelensky says China should communicate its peace proposals to Ukraine directly

ukraine ready for ceasefire ‘tomorrow’

Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine speaks during the Ukrainian closing press conference - ALESSANDRO DELLA VALLE/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that China should communicate its peace proposals on ending the war with Russia to Ukraine directly, instead of doing so via media outlets.

The Ukrainian leader made the comment at a news conference in Switzerland after an international summit to build consensus on how to end the war.

03:25 PM BST

Zelensky says Western aid not enough to ‘win’ war

Volodymyr Zelensky said that the current level of Western military aid being sent to his country is not enough to ensure Kyiv wins the war against Russia.

“There is aid. There are serious packages. Is it enough to win? No. Is it late? Yes,” Mr Zelensky told reporters.

02:34 PM BST

Zelensky says Russia is ‘not ready’ for a ‘just peace’

Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia was “not ready” to discuss a just and lasting peace.

“Russia does not want peace, that is a fact,” Mr Zelensky told a press conference at the end of a major diplomatic summit in Switzerland. “Russia and their leadership are not ready for a just peace, that’s a fact,” he added.

02:12 PM BST

Path towards peace in Ukraine will require patience and determination, says EU

A Swiss summit over the weekend has brought peace closer to Ukraine but real peace will not be achieved in one step, and the path there will require patience and determination, Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission Chief, said on Sunday.

“We know that peace in Ukraine will not be achieved in one step, it will be a journey,” she said after the talks.

“It was not a peace negotiation because (Russia’s president Vladimir) Putin is not serious about ending the war, he’s insisting on capitulation, he’s insisting on ceding Ukrainian territory – even territory that today is not occupied.”

01:57 PM BST

US weapons finally arrive on front line

US military ammunition resupplies have reached front line Ukrainian units but not yet in large enough quantities to reverse Russian momentum, a senior Ukrainian commander has said.

Lieutenant General Ivan Havrylyuk, first deputy defence minister, said that most of the equipment and ammunition pledged by the US in April was still in transit.

“It takes time to load ships that must then cross the Atlantic,” he told the Associated Press, adding that artillery shells had arrived. “But we are already seeing the results.”

Gen. Havrylyuk said that the Russian artillery shell advantage had fallen to five-to-one from seven-to-one and that this gap will steadily shrink.

The war in Ukraine has turned into a war of attrition, with artillery shell volumes playing a major role.

Russia is estimated to be sustaining more than 1,000 casualties a day as it tries to push its material advantage before more US equipment strengthens Ukraine’s defences.

01:43 PM BST

Eighty countries call for ‘territorial integrity’ of Ukraine

Eighty countries have jointly called for the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine to be the basis for any peace agreement to end Russia’s war, though some key developing nations at a Swiss conference did not join in.

The joint communique capped a two-day conference at the Burgenstock resort in Switzerland marked by the absence of Russia, which was not invited, but that many attendees hoped could join in on a roadmap to peace.

The final document said the UN Charter and “respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty … can and will serve as a basis for achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine.”

01:22 PM BST

Saudi Arabia, India, South Africa opt out of Ukraine declaration

Saudi Arabia, India, South Africa, Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates were among countries participating at a summit on peace for Ukraine that did not sign a final communique, the Swiss government said on Sunday.

Switzerland, which hosted the summit, said over 90 countries took part in the talks, and the vast majority of them signed up to the communique, according to a list which the Swiss organizers posted at the close of proceedings.

Brazil, which was listed as an “observer” on the list of attendees, also did not feature as a signatory.

12:58 PM BST

Zelensky hopes for quick results after Swiss peace conference

The support of Western and other leaders at a Swiss summit on peace for Ukraine demonstrates that the rule of international law can be restored,Volodymyr Zelenskiy said after the two-day meeting in Buergenstock.

“I hope that we can achieve results as soon as possible,” he told the plenary. “We’ll prove to everyone in the world that the UN Charter can be restored to full effectiveness.”

12:21 PM BST

Swiss right-wing leader calls Ukraine summit an ‘embarrassment’

A leading Swiss right-wing nationalist described the Ukraine peace summit held in his country as an “embarrassment”.

The right-wing Swiss Peoples’ Party, the biggest group in the lower house of parliament, says neutrality is an integral part of Switzerland’s prosperity, and it has initiated a referendum to embed the principle in the constitution.

Leading figures in the party have argued Switzerland should not have hosted this weekend’s summit without Russia, and Nils Fiechter, chief of the SVP’s youth wing, delivered a damning verdict on the talks to Russian broadcaster RT.

“The conference will achieve nothing,” Mr Fiechter told RT on the eve of the talks, in comments picked up by Swiss media on Sunday. “The whole thing is an absolute farce and an embarrassment for our country.”

11:54 AM BST

LGBT soldiers march in Ukraine

Several hundred LGBT Ukrainian servicemen and their supporters marched in central Kyiv Sunday to demand more rights and highlight their service to their country.

The servicemembers – many wearing rainbow and unicorn patches on their uniforms – called on the government to grant them official partnership rights. They described the event as a pride march but it did not have the celebratory atmosphere of peacetime events and took place in the rain and under a heavy police guard amid threats from counterprotesters.

ukraine ready for ceasefire ‘tomorrow’

Photos of LGBT soldiers killed in action amid Russia's invasion are held during Kyiv pride - SERGEY DOLZHENKO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

ukraine ready for ceasefire ‘tomorrow’

This year marked the first pride event in Ukraine since Russia's large-scale invasion in February 2022 - Nikoletta Stoyanova/Getty Images

The role of LGBT members in the military has been credited with shifting public attitudes toward same-sex partnerships in the socially conservative country.

“We are ordinary people who are fighting on an equal footing with everyone else, but deprived of the rights that other people have,” Dmitriy Pavlov, an army soldier who used a cane to walk, told The Associated Press.

11:45 AM BST

Russia ‘takes control of Zahirne village’

Russian forces have taken control of the village of Zahirne in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, the Russia’s defence ministry has said, continuing its progress on the front line.

“Units of the Eastern forces have liberated the settlement of Zagrine in the Zaporizhzhia region and occupied more favourable positions,” the Russian defence ministry said in its daily report.

The report could not be immediately verified.

11:44 AM BST

Kremlin says Kyiv should ‘reflect’ on troop withdrawal

Ukraine should “reflect” on Vladimir Putin’s call for Kyiv to withdraw its troops from the east and south of the country in order to open peace talks, as its military situation is worsening, the Kremlin said Sunday.

“The current dynamic of the situation at the front shows us clearly that it’s continuing to worsen for the Ukrainians. It’s probable that a politician who puts the interests of his country above his own and those of his masters would reflect on such a proposal,” said Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman.

11:22 AM BST

Putin not ruling out talks with Ukraine

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, is not ruling out talks with Ukraine, but guarantees will be needed to ensure the credibility of any negotiations, Russian news agencies cited Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, as saying on Sunday.

11:20 AM BST

Russian photographer killed in Ukrainian drone attack

A Russian journalist has been killed in a drone attack in eastern Ukraine, his news organisation said Sunday, days after the death of another correspondent near the front line.

“Our correspondent Nikita Tsitsagi was killed during an attack by Ukrainian army drones,” News.Ru posted on Telegram.

It said the attack happened around the Saint-Nicolas monastery near the town of Vuhledar, a small coal mining town which has been the scene of fierce fighting for the past three months, since Russia launched its spring offensive.

ukraine ready for ceasefire ‘tomorrow’

Russian journalist Nikita Tsitsagi

On Thursday, a journalist for Russian state television was killed and another wounded in a Ukrainian drone strike in Golmivsky, a Russian-controlled village in the Donetsk region.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, said earlier this month that “at least 30” of the country’s journalists had been killed since the start of the conflict in Ukraine. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine.

10:50 AM BST

Norway gives $103mn to Ukraine to secure electricity

Norway has said it will provide 1.1 billion kroner ($103 million) to Ukraine to help repair its energy infrastructure and secure the country’s electricity supply before next winter.

“Russia is carrying out massive, systematic attacks to paralyse the power grid, but Ukrainians are working day and night to maintain essential electricity supplies for the population,” Jonas Gahr Store, the prime minister, said in a statement.

According to government estimates, more than 50 per cent of Ukraine’s power production capacity has been destroyed.

ukraine ready for ceasefire ‘tomorrow’

Norway has pledged 75 billion kroner in military and civilian aid to Ukraine for the five-year period 2023-2027 - Urs Flueeler/Keystone via AP

Norway said it had already been decided that 120 million kroner would go toward repairs in the Kharkiv area, which has been hit particularly hard by Russian attacks recently.

Solar panels will be installed at seven maternity units and operating theatres in the Kharkiv area, Mr Store said.

10:36 AM BST

Zelensky thanks guests for attending summit

10:28 AM BST

Who will sign the peace summit declaration?

It remains to be seen how many countries will back a final joint declaration from the peace summit.

Karl Nehammer, the Austrian Chancellor, has sought to temper hopes somewhat.

“Just to manage expectations, please: The crucial take-away is that we’ve all come here, that we’re talking, that many different nations and continents are talking to each other ... This is the essence of this conference,” he said.

The final summit declaration labels Russia’s invasion as a war, calls for Ukraine’s control over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and its Azov Sea ports to be restored, and demands that Ukraine’s territorial integrity is respected.

10:23 AM BST

Kyiv’s positions considered in final communique

Kyiv’s positions have been considered in the final communique for a summit of world leaders convened to pursue peace in Ukraine’s war with Russia, Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, said on Sunday.

He told reporters at the Buergenstock resort in central Switzerland that the text was complete and “balanced.” He also said no alternative peace plans had been discussed at the two-day event.

10:12 AM BST

Hostage takers at Russian detention centre killed and guards freed

Russian special forces have stormed the detention centre in Rostov, killing several hostage takers and freeing the two guards who had been held at knife-point by prisoners with links to Islamic State, Russian media reported.

Intense automatic gunfire could be heard in footage published on Russian telegram channels.

“The criminals were eliminated,” Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service said in a statement quoted by the Interfax news agency.

“The employees who were being held hostage were released. They are uninjured,” the prison service said.

10:01 AM BST

In pictures: Ukraine’s peace summit

ukraine ready for ceasefire ‘tomorrow’

Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a speech during the plenary session of the peace summit - URS FLUEELER / POOL / AFP

ukraine ready for ceasefire ‘tomorrow’

Some of the world leaders who have gathered in Switzerland this weekened - MICHAEL BUHOLZER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

ukraine ready for ceasefire ‘tomorrow’

Volodymyr Zelensky awards the Order of Freedom of Ukraine Mette Frederiksen, the to prime minister of Denmark - ALESSANDRO DELLA VALLE/Pool via REUTERS

09:52 AM BST

Staff on Ukrainian-owned ship evacuated after Houthi attack

The crew of the Ukrainian-owned and Polish-operated M/V Verbena have abandoned ship after being attacked by Yemeni Houthis, US Central Command reports.

The vessel was struck by two separate missile strikes on 13 June. On June 15 the crew sent out a distress call indicating they were abandoning the ship due to an ongoing fire and their inability to control it.

The Anna Meta vessel responded to provide assistance, picked up the sailors and transported them to safety.

“This continued malign and reckless behavior by the Iranian-backed Houthis threatens regional stability and endangers the lives of mariners across the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” the Central Command report said.

09:39 AM BST

Inmates take staff hostage at Russian detention centre

Six detainees, some with links to Islamic State, took guards hostage at a pre-trial detention centre in Russia’s southern region of Rostov and demanded free passage in negotiations with the authorities, local media has reported.

The men, who include some already convicted of terrorism offences, knocked out the bars of a window in their cell and entered a guard room where they took at least two prison officers hostage, the Baza Telegram channel said.

State media said that some of the prisoners were accused of terrorism offences including affiliation with the Islamic State militant group, which claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a Moscow concert hall in March.

09:29 AM BST

In pictures: The world leaders at the Ukraine peace summit

ukraine ready for ceasefire ‘tomorrow’

An official photograph of the Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland - Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street

09:24 AM BST

Qatar helped mediate return of 30 Ukrainian children

Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, has told reporters that Qatar had helped to mediate the return from Russia of 30 or more Ukrainian children to their families.

“It’s going to take international pressure. It’s going to take a spotlight from the international community – and not just from the voices from the United States or Europe – but from unusual voices, as well, to say what Russia has done here is morally reprehensible and must be reversed,” he said.

Kyiv says about 20,000 children have been taken to Russia or Russian-occupied territory without the consent of family or guardians since the war began. Moscow rejects this, saying it has protected vulnerable children from the war zone.

09:18 AM BST

Ukraine’s peace summit demands

Global leaders will use the second day of Ukraine’s major summit in Switzerland to pursue a consensus on condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and underscoring concerns about the war’s human cost.

A draft of the final summit declaration seen by Reuters refers to Russia’s invasion as a “war” – a label Moscow rejects – and calls for Ukraine’s control over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and its Azov Sea ports to be restored.

World leaders at the event include Kamala Harris, the US vice-president, Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, and Emmanuel Macron, the French president.

Many Western leaders have already voiced forceful condemnation of the invasion. Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish prime minister, said: “One thing is clear in this conflict: there is an aggressor, which is Putin, and there is a victim, which is the Ukrainian people.”

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