Ukrainian diplomat calls for Russia to face tribunal ahead of 2023 peace summit

American Age Official

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is calling for Russia to face a war crimes tribunal before participating in a peace summit in early 2023, according to a new interview with The Associated Press.

Ukraine is hoping to convene a peace summit by the end of February 2023, with the United Nations as the ideal host — but Kuleba said Russia wouldn’t get an invite if Moscow doesn’t submit to a war crimes tribunal in international court first.

“They can only be invited to this step in this way,” Kuleba told the AP.

“Every war ends in a diplomatic way. Every war ends as a result of the actions taken on the battlefield and at the negotiating table,” Kuleba said, adding the country is focused on ending the war in the new year.

Kuleba indicated U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, whom he called “a man of principle and integrity,” could be a possible mediator for the peace summit. It would likely follow a 10-point peace plan Zelensky presented at the Group of 20 summit in Bali last month.

Moscow leaders have said they’re prepared for peace talks, but Kuleba expressed doubt.

“They regularly say that they are ready for negotiations, which is not true, because everything they do on the battlefield proves the opposite,” he said.

Kuleba’s comments follow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s historic visit to the U.S. last week, when he stopped by the White House and gave an unprecedented address to a joint session of Congress.

Days later, Congress passed its massive government funding bill, which included some $45 billion in aid for Ukraine as its war with Russia wears on. The Pentagon pledged another $1.85 billion and the use of the U.S. Patriot missile system to shore up Ukraine’s air defense.

The foreign minister told the AP he was “absolutely satisfied” with Zelensky’s trip.

Ukraine has long accused Russia of war crimes amid the fighting — Zelensky said last month that more than 400 war crimes were documented in occupied Kherson alone — and the president’s office has been pushing for a tribunal to prosecute Russia.

“The cities and villages destroyed by Russia, destroyed destinies, broken and executed lives should be reflected in the sentences not only for those who directly committed all this, but also in the sentences for those who organized and started this aggression,” Zelensky said earlier this month.

“It is necessary to turn it into reality as soon as possible,” the president said of the tribunal.

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