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Russian diplomat doesn’t expect Swiss-hosted conference to help any ‘real’ Ukraine talks

"A genuine negotiation process will start with a clean slate and without regard to the events in Burgenstock," Sergey Garmonin noted

GENEVA, June 13. /TASS/. Any documents that could be adopted by the Swiss-hosted conference on Ukraine in June will be useless in helping start real peace talks, Russian ambassador to Switzerland Sergey Garmonin said.

"Documents and declarations from any events where Russia doesn’t participate will be regarded by us as null and void and of having no added value for starting real peace talks," he said in an interview with TASS. "A genuine negotiation process will start with a clean slate and without regard to the events in Burgenstock. Any documents from the meeting in Switzerland will not be of any value to Russia."

"The meeting on Mount Burgenstock will turn out to be a loud but empty PR stunt, a senseless waste of Swiss taxpayers' money that brings no real results for a peaceful settlement," the ambassador went on to say.

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis said on June 10 that Switzerland had not invited Russia to Burgenstock because Moscow had repeatedly made it clear it was not interested in the conference. Garmonin told TASS that Russia had said from the very beginning it would not take part in the event, even if it was invited because the event is essentially an extension of the meetings of Western national security advisers in the so-called Copenhagen format. The goal of that format was to promote President Vladimir Zelensky's "peace formula," which implies this ultimatum to Russia: reparations to Ukraine, Ukraine's annexation of some Russian regions, a tribunal against the Russian military and political leadership, and so on.

"Russia fundamentally disagrees with this approach of the conference organizers," the diplomat stated.

Three-pronged approach in Burgenstock

Switzerland announced that the Burgenstock conference will focus on three subjects: food security, nuclear security and humanitarian exchanges.

Garmonin noted that Western countries, whose representatives will gather in Burgenstock, should then stop obstructing trade in Russian grain and other agricultural products, and by doing so significantly strengthen food security around the world. If Switzerland wants to address the issue of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, it should "call on the Zelensky regime to stop shelling the nuclear power plant and endangering a good part of the European continent," the ambassador continued. If the conference organizers want to discuss a potential exchange of prisoners of war, they should "let Kiev know that shooting down Russian planes, while they are carrying captured Ukrainian servicemen, is not a good idea, and does nothing to facilitate prisoner of war exchanges," the diplomat said.

Terms for real talks

When asked about the conditions for genuine peace talks, Garmonin replied that "a lasting peace requires that Ukraine adopt a non-aligned status, NATO stop advancing toward our borders, an end to the militarization of Ukraine as a threat to the Russian Federation, and a halt to the blatantly Nazi policy of erasing all Russian heritage in Ukraine." Peace talks will be conducted based on the current realities, and the demands to "return to the 1991 borders" are unrealistic, he said.

According to the diplomat, any Western attempts to "prolong the simmering conflict will only worsen the starting negotiating position of the Kiev regime as it continues to surrender its positions on the battlefield."

"Western pressure, sanctions and attempts to impose capitulation on Moscow through a ‘peace summit’ and Zelensky's ‘formula’ will not change our approach, as we are talking about Russia's fundamental interests," the ambassador stated.

Switzerland no longer a mediator

Asked whether Switzerland was capable of acting as a mediator in the peace process, Garmonin said that "from the Russian point of view, Switzerland has lost its neutrality since 2022, depriving itself of the opportunity to act as an unbiased mediator." From the very beginning of the special military operation to protect the population of Donbass, the confederation "has taken a strictly pro-Kiev position, joined all 13 packages of illegitimate EU sanctions, illegally froze Russian assets, and are also proactively promoting the idea of an international tribunal to condemn Russia's leadership," the ambassador continued.

"Swiss mediation and good graces are out of the question," he said.

However, Switzerland can draw conclusions for the future that sanctions and other unfriendly actions are incompatible with mediation and offers of good faith, Garmonin said. There are some other countries that are ready for, and interested in mediation, according to the diplomat.