The long-persisted and profoundly embedded Russia-Ukraine war has continued with no apparent end in sight. In this context, the international community assembled on October 29 in Malta for the third round of peace negotiations. The fact that over 60 national security advisers attended this talk illustrates the severity and global importance of the present crisis. But Moscow was conspicuously absent from the negotiations, refusing to take part and publicly denouncing the gathering. During the first day of these talks among national security and policy advisors, the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, asked for support for his 10-point proposal to end the war.
Expansion of Peace Talks
In a social media message, President Zelenskyy emphasized that 66 nations were participating in the negotiations, indicating the support and acknowledgement of his peace proposal on a global scale. The Ukrainian delegation hopes to call a summit of heads of state eventually, and this meeting in Malta comes after previous meetings in Jeddah and Copenhagen this summer. The first round of negotiations in Copenhagen in June included only 15 participants, which expanded to 43 during the second round in Jeddah in August.
The Absence of Russia
Moscow’s glaring absence raises serious doubts about the possibility of reaching a peaceful resolution, regardless of the wide international participation. The meetings in Malta were criticized by Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry, as a “blatantly anti-Russian event.” This position reflects Moscow’s concerns and reluctance to participate in diplomatic efforts to end the ongoing conflict.
Malta’s Unconditional Support to Ukraine
Malta’s Foreign Minister, Ian Borg, stated that his country remains fully committed to restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity, notwithstanding Moscow’s reservations. In his introductory remarks, Ian Borg reaffirmed Malta’s commitment to Ukraine and voiced confidence in the country’s ability to act as a peace broker. The significant number of participants in the negotiations was viewed as evidence of Malta’s credibility in resolving the conflict.
Zelenskyy’s 10-Point Peace Plan
Five of the 10 major issues listed in President Zelenskyy’s peace proposal are at the center of these talks. The plan calls for Russia to withdraw all of its forces from Ukraine’s internationally recognized boundaries, including Crimea, which Russia occupied in 2014. Russia has vehemently opposed any proposal that would require it to cede control of the four regions of Ukraine that it previously claimed to have annexed: Zaporizhzhia, Lugansk, Kherson, and Donetsk.
Solving Nuclear and Energy Security
The Malta discussions cover important infrastructure and security problems in addition to geographical ones. Nuclear security is one urgent issue, particularly the necessity of guaranteeing the security of the nuclear power station in Zaporizhzhia. Furthermore, as winter approaches, concerns focus on protecting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. A top goal in these negotiations is to address the vital need to talk about energy security and any disruptions throughout the winter months.
Ukraine’s Food Security and Humanitarian Concerns
The matter of food security is also included in the negotiations because Russia has put limits on Ukraine’s grain exports. Humanitarian issues also occupy the front stage of the agenda, including the release of prisoners and the repatriation of Ukrainian children who were abducted to Russia. The human cost of the conflict and the pressing need for solutions that put the welfare of the impacted populations first are highlighted by these human-centered concerns.
The absence of Moscow highlights the difficulties and complexities that come with trying to find a peaceful solution, but Malta’s unwavering support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine and President Zelenskyy’s peace plan show how determined significant parties are to work through the complex web of problems that surround the conflict. The variety of issues being discussed, from energy infrastructure, humanitarian concerns, and nuclear security to territory disputes, highlights the complexity of this ongoing dispute and the need to address a wide range of issues in order to bring about a lasting peace.