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Russia will monitor Saudi-hosted Ukraine peace talks

Russia will monitor Saudi-hosted Ukraine peace talks

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Russia said Monday it will closely follow talks on Ukraine set to take place in Saudi Arabia early next month.

Saudi Arabia is planning to host peace talks including Ukraine, Western nations and selected major developing countries in August, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

Russia — which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and continues to pound Ukraine with missile attacks — was not invited to the talks, but Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Moscow will “follow this meeting,” reported Russian state-owned media outlet RIA Novosti on Monday.

“It remains to be fully understood what goals are set and what, in fact, the organizers plan to talk about,” said Peskov, adding that any attempts to promote a peaceful settlement are “worthy of a positive assessment.” Russian President Vladimir Putin recently said there could be no cease-fire while Ukrainian forces are “on the offensive.”

The upcoming Saudi-hosted talks, which could bring together officials from up to 30 countries, are set to take place in Jeddah on August 5 and 6.

The U.K., South Africa, Poland and the EU have all confirmed attendance, and U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is also expected to attend, the Wall Street Journal said. India and Brazil have also been invited.

Earlier this summer, leaders and senior officials from more than a dozen countries gathered in Copenhagen to discuss a possible peace plan for Ukraine.

But some major developing countries are still hesitant to condemn the war, as evident during last month’s EU summit with Latin American leaders.

According to the Journal, officials are hoping the upcoming talks could garner international support for Ukraine’s peace demands, and potentially lead to a summit later this year. Western diplomats reportedly said that Saudi Arabia was picked to host this round of talks partly in hopes of persuading China — which has close ties to Saudi Arabia — to participate.

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