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Zelenskyy meets heads of state in Singapore, seeks support for security summit

Zelenskyy meets heads of state in Singapore, seeks support for security summit
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SINGAPORE: Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy met with heads of state and legislators in Singapore late on Saturday (Jun 1) and early on Sunday, seeking security assistance and support for a peace summit after arriving for a surprise visit to the Shangri-La Dialogue.

On the social media platform X, Zelenskyy said he had met with Indonesia’s president-elect, Prabowo Subianto; a delegation from the US Congress; and the president of Timor-Leste, Jose Ramos-Horta.

“It is very important for us to begin the process of establishing a just peace,” Zelenskiy said. “Russia does not want to end the war. Therefore, we must work together with the entire world to bring peace closer.”

He said Ramos-Horta had agreed to attend the summit, scheduled for mid-June in Switzerland. At last year’s Shangri-La Dialogue, Prabowo had proposed an Indonesian plan for ending the war in Ukraine.

In an address to delegates on Sunday, Chinese Defence Minister Dong Jun said his country had been careful not to support either Russia or Ukraine.

“On the Ukraine crisis, China has been promoting peace talks with a responsible attitude,” he said. “We have never provided weapons to either party of the conflict. We have put strict controls on exports of dual-use items, and have never done anything to fan the flames. We stand firmly on the side of peace and dialogue.”

The presidents of Timor-Leste and Ukraine, Jose Ramos-Horta and Volodymyr Zelenskyy, meet on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Jun 1, 2024. (Photo: X/Volodymyr Zelenskyy)

Russia has not attended the security summit in Singapore since it invaded Ukraine in 2022.

Zelenskyy and his defence minister, Rustem Umerov, will also meet with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Sunday on the sidelines of the conference, a US defence official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

They will discuss the current battlefield situation in Ukraine and Austin will “underscore U.S. commitment to ensuring Ukraine has what it needs to defend itself against ongoing Russian aggression,” the official said.

Zelenskyy is also scheduled to speak at the security summit’s final discussion session on Sunday on “Re-Imagining Solutions for Global Peace and Regional Stability.”

Ukraine is facing a renewed assault from Russian forces, particularly around the northeastern city of Kharkiv. The United States recently relaxed restrictions on the use of US-supplied weapons to strike targets in Russia, which experts say will help Ukraine blunt attacks before they gather momentum.

The Shangri-La Dialogue, organised by the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies, ends on Sunday.

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