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Ukrainian  tanks move towards Bakhmut
Ukrainian tanks move towards Bakhmut in the battle to control the eastern city. Photograph: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images
Ukrainian tanks move towards Bakhmut in the battle to control the eastern city. Photograph: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images

Ukraine ceasefire not enough without ‘just and durable’ peace, says Sunak

UK PM says at G7 summit that end to war will need to recognise country’s territorial integrity

Rishi Sunak has said a ceasefire in Ukraine would not be enough, as any end to the war will need to recognise the country’s territorial integrity and include a plan for “just and durable” peace.

The UK prime minister said the last session at the G7 summit in Japan had involved a “conversation about peace” in Ukraine and what it should look like, with more neutral countries India and Brazil also taking part.

Speaking after the end of the gathering in Hiroshima, the site of one of the US atomic bombings in 1945, Sunak said G7 leaders had been united about “making it very clear about what the principles of peace should be based on” in Ukraine.

“Those calling for peace that is really a ceasefire should recognise that is not a just and durable peace. I think that is recognised in the statement that a just and durable peace is one that should be based on the UN charter about respect for territorial respect and sovereignty. Those are the values that underpin the international system … no one wants peace more than President Zelenskiy and the people of Ukraine but they have to be based on these principles.”

Sunak has previously criticised China’s proposal of a 12-point plan for a ceasefire in Ukraine saying it lacked credibility, and warned against taking any calls for a ceasefire from Russia seriously.

He has also previously made clear he believes it “will end as all conflicts do, at the negotiating table, but that is a decision for Ukraine to make”, adding “what we need to do is put them in the best possible place to have those talks at an appropriate moment that makes sense for them”.

The G7 summit had a central focus on the Ukraine war, with Volodymyr Zelenskiy making a surprise visit to Japan to join world leaders as his forces prepare for a counteroffensive against Russia. A major focus of Sunak and others has been persuading countries from the global south, including India, to shift towards more support for Ukraine from a broadly neutral position.

The Ukrainian president met Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, for the first time since the invasion, inviting him to join Ukraine’s peace formula. Afterwards, Zelenskiy said the two had also discussed Ukraine’s needs in mobile hospitals and removing landmines.

Modi told Zelenskiy he was keen to help and that for him the war was an issue of humanity and human values. “I assure you that for its resolution, India and I personally will do everything within our means,” he said.

Zelenskiy is due to give a press conference on Sunday after meeting world leaders to make his case for further military support.

A major breakthrough for Zelenskiy came on Friday when the US president, Joe Biden, gave the green light for American F16 fighter jets sold to other countries to be relicensed to Ukraine. Sunak said the UK was preparing to train Ukrainian pilots ready to fly F16 planes later this summer.

Earlier in the summit, Sunak noted that the G7 had once been the G8, before Russia was expelled in 2014 for its illegal annexation of Crimea and “flagrant abuse of human rights and the rule of law”.

He added: “Nine years on, it sends an incredibly powerful message to have my friend and Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy with us in Hiroshima. It tells the world that the G7 stands united with the people of Ukraine in the face of a terrible onslaught. And it demonstrates that brute force and oppression will not triumph over freedom and sovereignty.”

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