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Norway is working to free kidnapped Ukrainian children

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Landing: Jonas Gahr Sture boards the plane on his way to Switzerland for a summit on the war in Ukraine. Photo: VG

– A very difficult topic, says Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Sture about the work that Norway is leading with Canada and Qatar.

At 3pm on Saturday afternoon, the helicopter carrying Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Sture landed at the prestigious Bürgenstock Hotel next to the Vierwaldstätter See in Switzerland.

This weekend, the hotel is a gathering place for a total of 92 countries that have accepted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's invitation to discuss the path to peace in the war-torn country.

The summit is being held here in Bürgenstock on Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. Photography: Fabrice Cofrini/Agence France-Presse

The summit was supposed to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the war, and hopefully be a turning point towards peace.

But as on the battlefield in Ukraine, the conference in Switzerland did not go as planned by the Ukrainian president either: the meeting was postponed five times, according to The Economist. We celebrate the 843rd and 844th days of the war in Ukraine this weekend.

Store with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Swiss Federal President Viola Amherd welcoming the summit. Photo: Alessandro Della Valle/Pool/EPA

A recent poll shows that the belief that Ukraine will win the war against Russia has now weakened among the Norwegian population, according to Opinion's community monitor.

The percentage of those who believe in Ukraine's victory has halved in the past year.

Hardly one in four Norwegians believe the Ukrainians will win the war. On average, Norwegians now believe that the war will continue for about four more years.

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Rescue workers help an injured man after the Russian attack on Kharkiv on June 10. Photo: Yevgeny Maloletka/AP

This weekend, Støre is ready for more working hours to help Ukraine.

– Honestly, have you also changed your point of view on how long this war will last? asks Prime Minister VG Støre before landing at the Swiss mountain house.

– I am one of those who have already criticized the concepts of victory and defeat. War is truly a loss for everyone. He says: Because the destruction is so great, and the consequences are long-lasting.

Storr reminds us that history contains few wars that ended in complete victory. He points out that there is now “a long front line, which has, in general, been fairly stable over the past year.”

– I think the Norwegians who say this could continue… could unfortunately be right, says Støre to VG.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke at the opening of the summit. Photograph: Michael Buholzer/AP

“Today is the day when the world gets a little closer to peace,” Zelensky said in a harsher voice than usual when he opened the summit at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Next to the Ukrainian president on the Bürgenstock platform stood heads of state and heads of government from all over the world. However, some central states shine by their absence. China is absent. Türkiye will not send the commander-in-chief, nor will the United States and Saudi Arabia. Russia is not invited.

Senior leaders of participating countries will discuss three points of Ukraine's ten-point peace plan throughout Saturday evening and Sunday morning. here they are:

  • Food Safety
  • Nuclear security
  • Release prisoners of war, kidnapped civilians and kidnapped Ukrainian children.
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Norway has taken on a special responsibility regarding the last two issues.

In cooperation with Canada, Norway leads a working group that includes civilian prisoners, prisoners of war and He was deported children.

Ukrainians demonstrated demanding the return of prisoners of war from Russia in Lucerne on Saturday. Photo: Walter Perry/EPA/NTB

Ukrainian authorities accused the Russians of kidnapping nearly 20,000 children from the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine.

Storr says that the work in which Norway is participating to recover kidnapped children requires a great effort.

– There is still a lot of work to be done here. The exchange of prisoners of war is what happens most often. Because here the two parties have something to exchange, as Storr says, and continues:

The Ukrainians have prisoners of war they can exchange, but they do not have Russian children or Russian civilians. So this is a very difficult topic, and it is one of the things we have to talk about, and which Norway will pay special attention to during the meeting.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Zelensky before the summit. Photograph: Alessandro Della Valle/Reuters/NTB

In order to successfully repatriate kidnapped Ukrainians, the key is precisely international cooperation similar to what was done at this weekend's summit, Sture told VG.

– One of the challenges is identifying the contacts you have in Russia to identify people on the lists of names, and links with relatives at home. There are now restrictions on most of Europe, as there are very few communications with Russia. But there are other countries that have more open channels than we have now. So, when we work here in Switzerland, Canada, Qatar and Norway will work together.

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No. 101: Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Sture and a hundred heads of government, heads of state, and representatives of the European Union and the United Nations are present in Switzerland.

For Storey, Day 843 of the Ukraine war offers an opportunity to secure a better future for all of Europe.

He says that even now we have to believe that one day it will come, whether it is after the end of hostilities, or a peaceful solution.

– There will come a future where we will have to think about cooperation in Europe, where all countries will feel secure, where the United Nations Charter guarantees the borders of all countries and their right to decide their future.

This work will continue for many years to come, the Prime Minister told VG.

– It is necessary to start, and this meeting lays down some important principles that must be applied. Now I have to do what's right on my watch.

This is how Norway supports Ukraine

Nansen programme

In the five-year period 2023-2027, Norway will support Ukraine With a value of 75 billion Norwegian kroner during Nansen programme. The support includes, among other things, large-scale military support on several tracks to support Ukraine's defensive struggle. In 2023, Norwegian military support amounted to approximately NOK 10 billion, and in 2024 the amount is expected to reach NOK 13.5 billion.

In the revised national budget for 2024, the government increased military support to Ukraine by 6 billion Norwegian kroner. This includes more air defences, weapons and ammunition.


Read also: Peace Summit in Switzerland: – Moscow has overinvested in sabotage

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