What you Need to Know:
Discussions on how to end the war in Ukraine began over the weekend in Saudi Arabia. 40 countries attended the summit to discuss a potential framework to begin peace talks. This is the second meeting, with the first being held in Copenhagen.
Ukraine’s President Volodimir Zelensky claimed they received more support in the second meeting than in the first. More importantly, China has said that it would support further peace talks.
Why it Matters:
China has been Russia’s ally and has done much to help Russia’s global PR. From condemning NATO support in Ukraine and blaming the U.S. for the war, to supporting the Russian economy to prevent it from collapsing, China has been a major factor in Russia’s ability to wage war.
China has now made an official statement that they would be willing to attend a third meeting to figure out an end to the war. This is a stark contrast to the first meeting where a Chinese delegation was not present.
Although, if Russia was to lose China’s support for the war in Ukraine, it could hold some potentially major negative effects. When the war first broke out, major Western powers cut off all trade with Russia entirely, hoping to cripple their economy enough to stall or prevent their war effort. As this happened, China increased its trading with Russia to $190 Billion, a 30% increase from previous years.
China has also been exporting weaponry and ammunition to support the Russian army. Losing the weapons supply would have severe implications for the Russian army’s ability to hold offensive or defensive capabilities.
There is no set date for peace talks to occur but some delegations present said that the end of 2023 is not an unrealistic expectation. Even though the peace talks present progress in global cooperation, Russia did not attend, and it is unlikely that this will do anything to prevent them from continuing operations on the Ukrainian front.
There is no way to assume when the date for a peace conference will occur. It will ultimately depend on Russia’s willingness to end the war on its terms. Furthering the issue is that Russia has not been invited to either peace conference, giving them the ability to claim any talks of peace would be one-sided.
Ukraine’s counter-offensive has yielded mixed results with no large gains being made. As fall is rapidly approaching, both armies will likely be in the early preparation phase for winter. During winter when neither side is able to move their troops, there could be potential for a peace conference.