A UN-brokered peace summit to end the war in Ukraine is expected to be held in New York on Feb 24, said Ukraine’s ambassador to Türkiye.
We believe that most probably it will take place in New York within the UN on the 24th of February,” Vasyl Bodnar told Anadolu when asked about the peace summit announced by the Kyiv administration, which is expected to be mediated by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
On reports that Russia will not take part in the summit, Bodnar said: “How could you invite the country which wouldn’t like to have peace for the peace conference?”
First of all, he said, it is “unnatural, and secondly, (it is) a brutal slap to the whole idea, because Russia is the country which breaks the peace and they would like to continue the war with the occupation of Ukrainian territory.”
Pointing out that there is hope for peace in the region, he said this can only be achieved by pushing Russia out of Ukrainian territory and the “world should pressure Russia to stop its military activities.”
Emphasizing the importance of restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity, Bodnar said “this is a war for liberation and independence.”
“We need to liberate our territory, renew our territorial integrity and establish sovereign rights on our sovereign territories,” he added. “That’s the key element of the whole war.”
– ‘War for survival’
Saying that the conflict in Ukraine has intensified in the eastern city of Bakhmut and its surroundings in the Donetsk region, Bodnar said there were also urban clashes in some of these regions.
Noting that although the destruction in the city of Bakhmut and nearby town of Soledar due to Russian attacks was quite high, he said that Ukrainian forces were working to maintain their dominance in the region.
“For us, this war is a war for survival, a war for independence and a war for sovereignty,” he said, adding Ukraine was defending itself according to international law.
On reports that Russia is preparing a new attack on Ukraine in February, Bodnar said: “Yes, there is information from our intelligence that Russia is concentrating forces to start a new attack from the north, from Belarusian or Russian territory, and with a second attempt to capture Kyiv and northern regions of Ukraine.”
“So we have been preparing for that for a long time. And I believe that it will not be an easy task for them even to start this attack,” he added. “Nevertheless, it would not be excluded that the Russians might consolidate their forces and equipment and set off on a new big offensive with an attempt to capture new territories.”
Noting that the situation is “very hard” on the front line, the Ukrainian envoy said it could be even worse if the Russians attempt to attack from different directions. “So…(we) should be prepared for the worst scenario.”
– ‘We propose the formula’
Bodnar also said that Ukraine was “thinking about the future settlement of the whole situation in our region,” and for this reason, he said: “We need peace, and we propose the formula.”
Recalling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s 10 conditions for peace, which were laid out at the G-20 summit last November, Bodnar said they include nuclear security, food security, energy security, and the withdrawal of Russian forces.
Expressing his appreciation for Türkiye’s support for Ukraine’s peace plan, he said: “I am very grateful to (Turkish Foreign) Minister (Mevlut) Cavusoglu, who yesterday officially announced that Türkiye is supporting the Ukrainian peace plan and (that) it is ready to join in its implementation.”
– ‘Türkiye is helping Ukraine with peace talks’
Praising Türkiye’s initiatives on issues such as ending the war and establishing a cease-fire, Bodnar said: “I’m very grateful because, from the very beginning of the war, Türkiye has been helping Ukraine with peace talks, mediation and resolving some practical things.”
“And de facto, Türkiye is already implementing some of the points which have not been proposed and formalized like, for example, food security.”
Pointing out the importance of the Black Sea Grain Corridor Agreement signed with the initiatives of the UN and Türkiye, Bodnar said that “Ukraine and Türkiye are now the saviors of the world from hunger.”
“Because of this grain initiative, grain corridor, grain from Ukraine, these two initiatives, they are helping countries which are in need of food…The two countries are taking responsibility for global food security. That’s important,” he said.