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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during the 21st Shangri-La Dialogue summit at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore on June 2, 2024. 

Nhac Nguyen | Afp | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday accused China of helping Russia to disrupt an upcoming peace summit by pressuring other countries not to attend.

The peace talks, which focus on the Russia-Ukraine conflict which started in February 2022, are due to take place at the Bürgenstock Resort in Switzerland on June 15-16.

Zelenskyy, speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, said that Russia is using Chinese influence in Asia to disrupt the summit.

“Unfortunately, regrettably, Russia, using Chinese influence on the region, using Chinese diplomats, does everything to disrupt the peace summit,” he said, according to a translation of his remarks, without giving specific examples.

“Regrettably, it is unfortunate that such a big, independent, powerful country as China is an instrument in [the] hands of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” he added. CNBC has reached out to the Chinese embassy in Singapore for comment.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has previously indicated that it will not attend the peace conference because it does not meet its expectations. Moscow, meanwhile, has not been invited has dismissed the conference.

Zelenskyy also accused Russia of threatening other nations with blockades of goods such as agricultural exports, chemical products and high energy prices. CNBC has reached out to the Russian foreign ministry for comment.

Call for Asian nations

In his plenary speech, the Ukrainian president said the Switzerland summit would focus on three points of Ukraine’s 10-point peace plan, which was first announced in November 2022.

The summit, he said, would focus on nuclear security, food security, and the return of abducted Ukrainian children from Russia.

“Time is running out,” he said. “The children are growing up in Putin’s land, where they are taught to hate their homeland, and are being told they have no families, while their loved ones wait for them at home.”

While Zelenskyy said that 106 nations would send at least senior level representatives to the summit, he did express disappointment that some world leaders would not be participating.

Most notably, the U.S. has not confirmed if President Joe Biden will attend, although Zelenskyy said the U.S. has confirmed their participation “at a high level.”

Speaking at a press conference after his speech, the Ukrainian president reiterated that he would want the the support of Asian countries. “It is much needed … Each of the countries in your region, we want Asia to know what is going on in Ukraine. We want Asia to support the end of the war.”

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For Singapore specifically, Zelenskyy said that he will meet both Singapore Prime Minister Lawrence Wong and President Tharman Shanmugaratnam, and expressed his desire for the leader of Singapore to support Ukraine by personally participating in the summit.

He said that Ukraine had never demanded that Asian countries support Ukraine militarily, but he asked for political and humanitarian support, as well as support for Ukraine’s civilians.

“All these have become the basis of our peace formula and has grown into the global peace summit. So every leader and every country can show their commitment to peace,” he said.

“The global majority can ensure with their involvement, that what is agreed upon is truly implemented. And so that Russia, who started this cruel war, cannot push us off the path to ending the war.”

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