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– Moscow has overinvested in sabotage

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A Swiss soldier prepares to visit the former castle, now a resort, Bürgenstock. Photograph: Pierre Albouy/Reuters/NTB

The host says Russia is trying to torpedo the peace summit in Switzerland by spreading fake news.

An elegant hotel in the Swiss district of Bürgenstock is the meeting place where nearly a hundred heads of state and government will meet this weekend to discuss the way forward for peace in Ukraine.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Sture arrives on Saturday morning, as do European Union summits and senior leaders of about ninety countries in the world, but Russia is not invited.

They tried instead to sabotage, through widespread smear campaigns against Swiss President Viola Amherd, so that the president himself could do so. Tells this week.

Amherd also said that Switzerland had been subjected to a number of cyberattacks in the run-up to the summit.

The Ukraine meeting in Switzerland actually had fairly modest chances of accomplishing anything in particular, but massive attacks from Russia may have actually boosted Zelensky's meeting, according to peace researcher Pavel K. Baev at the Rio Peace Research Institute.

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– In any case, the summit is far from being as useless as Moscow tries to make it out to be, says Baev.

– The meeting will likely not yield much in terms of content, but the value of the meeting can also be found in what could be called the collision between two diplomatic trains: Moscow has overinvested in subversion. Through its aggressive attempts to sabotage the meeting, Moscow ended up making the forum more important, the peace researcher believes.

Most present: French President Macron, European Union leaders von der Leyen and Michel, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, German Schulz, British Sunak, and Italian Prime Minister Meloni are among the participants in Switzerland. On the other hand, US President Joe Biden (h) sends his deputy, Harris. Photograph: Domenico Stinellis/AP/NTB

The purpose of the peace summit is to build broad international support for Zelensky's ten-point peace plan, which includes the complete withdrawal of all Russian forces from Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

Although Ukraine might imagine having the item on liberating the entire territory of Ukraine at the top of the meeting list, the agenda now contains only the three least controversial items from Zelensky's 10-point peace list, Baev says.

They will discuss this

These are three topics that are easy for the participating countries to agree on. The peace researcher believes Switzerland likely played a role in convincing Zelensky that the meeting would be more productive if it stuck to these topics.

– This is not a forum for big commitments, but more of a meeting where Ukraine can strengthen its political image in the world, increase support and understanding of its situation, Pavel Baev reminds.

One of the topics, the release of abducted children, prisoners of war and civilians, is what Prime Minister Storr will take part in at a forum this weekend in Switzerland.

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Norway, together with Canada, has led a working group on this matter since last winter.

Biden at a fundraising event

Although many big names are competing in Switzerland, the list of participants may not be quite what Zelenskiy envisioned.

– Zelensky's dream was to bring together top leaders from the world: Biden, Xi and Erdogan, peace researcher Christian Berg Harpviken tells VG.

So far, less than half of the UN member states (193 countries) plan to participate, which is testimony to the wait-and-see attitude in many world capitals.

Compared to Zelensky's original goal, the meeting does not have the same weight as the Ukrainian president wanted.

– The fact that Biden did not leave may have been a particular disappointment for President Zelensky, believes peace researcher Harpviken.

Joe Biden is busy with a fundraising campaign ahead of the US election, hosted by celebrities George Clooney and Julia Roberts. China, Turkey, Indonesia and Pakistan are some of the other countries whose absence is notable.

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