RRussian President Vladimir Putin has criticized the peace conference planned for Ukraine in Switzerland. Russia will not be invited there, but at the same time it will be admitted that nothing can be decided without Moscow, Putin said at a televised meeting with Belarus' leader Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday. “And because we are not going there, they are now saying that we refuse to negotiate. This is a real panopticon,” said the Kremlin chief. On Wednesday, however, the Russian embassy in Bern announced that Russia would not take part in the meeting even if invited.

According to Putin, Ukraine maneuvered itself into a corner by breaking off negotiations two years ago – shortly after the start of the Russian war of aggression. The other side thought that Russia could be defeated on the battlefield. But this turned out to be impossible. Russia is ready to negotiate, but not on schemes “that have nothing to do with reality,” Putin said.

Negotiations are scheduled to take place in neutral Switzerland on June 15th and 16th on, among other things, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's so-called peace formula. He had called for a withdrawal of Russian troops from all occupied areas of Ukraine. Moscow, on the other hand, insists on peace on its terms. This includes the retention of previous conquests, Ukraine's renunciation of joining NATO and a powerful army. There may also be further demands for the cession of territory to Russia.

Media report: Türkiye is preparing a new peace plan for Ukraine

Meanwhile, the activity of potential mediators for a solution in Ukraine is increasing ahead of the summit. According to a media report, Turkey wants to freeze the war in Ukraine for more than a decade with a new peace initiative. The plan, which was launched with the support of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is already available to Kiev and Moscow, wrote the Kremlin-critical newspaper Novaya Gazeta. Europe” citing its own sources.

The most important points of the document are: The USA and Russia undertake not to use nuclear weapons under any circumstances and to return to the New Start nuclear weapons disarmament treaty. The conflict in Ukraine is frozen on the current front line. In 2040, Ukraine will decide on its future foreign policy course in a referendum – until then it will not join NATO. At the same time, referendums will also be held under international control in the territories occupied by Russia. The warring parties exchange all prisoners with each other. Russia does not oppose Ukraine's accession to the EU.

Putin justifies shelling of Ukrainian energy facilities

However, acceptance of the plan is considered unlikely. Both warring parties continue to rely on wearing down their opponents. At the meeting with Lukashenko, Putin also justified Russia's conduct of the war. He described the ongoing shelling of Ukrainian energy facilities by the Russian military as a necessary response to attacks by Kiev. “Unfortunately, we have observed a number of strikes against our energy objects recently and have been forced to respond,” he said. According to Putin, the Russian shelling of Ukrainian power plants serves to “demilitarize the neighboring country” because they influence the output of arms production.

The night before, Russia had destroyed several thermal power plants with heavy rocket attacks and once again damaged numerous systems and power lines in Ukraine. Shortly after the start of the war, Russia began these attacks, which primarily affected the Ukrainian civilian population.

Eastern Ukrainian Kharkiv Region orders forced evacuation of children

The eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv, which is particularly suffering from Russian shelling, has now ordered the forced evacuation of families with children from 47 towns near the border. These are communities in the three counties of Bohodukhiv, Izyum and Kharkiv, the military governor of the region, Oleh Synyehubov, said in a Telegram message. However, the regional capital is not affected. The reason is the almost daily shelling of the towns by the Russian army. All those affected will receive appropriate humanitarian and legal assistance, he promised. The day before, a young girl was killed in Russian shelling in the village of Lypzi in the Kharkiv district, almost ten kilometers from the Russian border.

IAEA chief sees increasing risk of nuclear accident at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

From the perspective of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the danger situation at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine has recently become significantly worse. The recent drone attacks on the facility “have significantly increased the risk of a nuclear accident,” warned IAEA boss Grossi in Vienna. At a special meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors, he urged military decision-makers and the international community to ensure de-escalation. Representatives from Kiev and Moscow again blamed each other for the incidents at the IAEA meeting.