Vice President Kamala Harris to attend Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland this month

by Admin
Vice President Kamala Harris to attend Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland this month

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and national security adviser Jake Sullivan will attend a Ukraine peace conference in Switzerland on June 15, the White House said in a statement on Monday.

Harris will travel to Switzerland to underscore Washington’s commitment to supporting Ukraine’s effort to secure a just and lasting peace, based on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and the principles of the U.N. Charter, the vice president’s communications director, Kirsten Allen, said.

Harris will reaffirm U.S. support for the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against ongoing Russian aggression, the statement said.

The Kremlin has repeatedly said any talks around securing peace in Ukraine should involve Russia, which has not been invited to the summit.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Monday the Philippines will take part in a peace conference hosted by Switzerland this month, and he thanked the Philippines for its support.

“I am grateful to the Philippines for supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, for its clear position on Russia’s aggression against our country, and for supporting important U.N. resolutions,” Zelenskyy said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shakes hands with Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. at Malacanang Palace in Manila, June 3, 2024.

The Ukrainian leader was in Singapore on Sunday and told a security conference that China was helping Russian efforts disrupt the peace conference set for June 15-16 by pressuring leaders of other countries not to attend.

“These attempts to disrupt the summit are systematic and are unprecedentedly large in scale, which once again confirms that we are doing everything right,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.

Kuleba added that Russia’s efforts to sabotage the summit were focused on countries in Asia, Africa and South America.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning rejected the accusation on Monday, saying China “believes that all efforts conducive to the peaceful resolution of the crisis should be supported.”

China has been calling for a peace conference with equal participation of all sides, including Russia, which has not been invited. Russia also has called Zelenskyy’s peace plan requiring Russian withdrawal from Ukrainian territories a nonstarter.

Despite its proclaimed neutrality, China’s trade with Russia has grown, allowing Moscow to weather Western economic sanctions.

Ukrainian, U.S. and other intelligence agencies also say there is evidence that Chinese parts are winding up in Russian weaponry, even if China is not directly arming its neighbor.

Monday attacks, Ukraine defense

A Russian rocket attack killed one person and injured two others in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine, the regional governor said Monday.

Oleg Synegubov said on Telegram the attack in the village of Slobozhanske also damaged a recreation center and houses.

A drone view shows damaged buildings, amid Russia's attacks on Ukraine, in Vovchansk, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, in this screen grab from video released on June 2, 2024. (United Assault Brigade of the National Police of Ukraine "Lyut"/Handout via REUTERS)

A drone view shows damaged buildings, amid Russia’s attacks on Ukraine, in Vovchansk, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, in this screen grab from video released on June 2, 2024. (United Assault Brigade of the National Police of Ukraine “Lyut”/Handout via REUTERS)

Italy will likely send a second round of air defense supplies to Ukraine, after Zelenskyy’s appeals for more military aid against Russian missile attacks on Ukrainian civilians and the country’s energy infrastructure, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The system, also known as MAMBA, is the only European-made system that can intercept ballistic missiles.

It is a Franco-Italian battery that can track dozens of targets and intercept 10 at once, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported on Monday. It also wrote the government could greenlight the new supplies after a summit of leaders of the Group of Seven major democracies, which Italy will host June 13-15.

Meanwhile, Ukraine said on Monday it would urge allies to give its troops more freedom to strike military targets inside Russia after the United States partially lifted restrictions on the use of some Western-supplied weapons.

Washington last week gave Ukraine limited permission to use Western-supplied weapons to strike some military targets on Russian territory as part of Kyiv’s efforts to fend off attacks on its eastern Kharkiv region.

“It is not 100%, you know, clearance. It comes with some rules that need to be followed,” Kuleba said at a press conference with his Estonian counterpart.

“We will continue to work with our allies on expanding the scope of its application,” he added.

Ukraine’s supporters are divided on the matter. Some fear that allowing Ukraine to strike inside Russia could drag them closer to direct conflict with Moscow.

Across the border in Russia’s Belgorod region, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said a Ukrainian drone attack hit three villages, damaging power and communications lines. Another drone flew into an unused commercial building, causing an explosion, Gladkov said on Telegram.

Russia’s Defense Ministry also said Monday it shot down a Ukrainian drone over Belgorod.

Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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