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Zelensky arrives in Switzerland for World Economic Forum, talks with Swiss leaders

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 15, 2024 2:21 PM 2 min read
Photo for illustrative purposes. President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers an end-of-year press conference in Kyiv on Dec. 19, 2023. (Photo by Sergei Supinsky/ AFP)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Jan. 15 he had arrived in Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos and meet with top Swiss officials.

Zelensky's visit comes a day after national security advisors from 80 countries gathered in Davos for the fourth meeting on Ukraine's peace formula in preparations for the Global Peace Summit.

The Ukrainian president is scheduled to meet his Swiss counterpart Viola Amherd, heads of both chambers of the Swiss parliament, and heads of parties and factions in Bern.

According to Zelensky, their talks will focus on the return of Ukrainian children abducted by Russia, sanctions against Russia and the search for ways to use frozen Russian assets, cooperation on humanitarian demining, financial support, and reconstruction of Ukraine.

"I will thank (them) for principled support of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. I believe that Switzerland's participation in the Peace Formula and its relevant experience will help bring a just peace based on our vision," he said on X (formerly Twitter).

While joining international sanctions against Russia and providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Switzerland refused to send direct military aid to Kyiv, citing its long-standing neutrality policy.

In Davos, Zelensky will hold bilateral meetings with EU and NATO officials "to support the dynamics" of Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration. At the WEF, he will also talk with other state leaders and business representatives "to strengthen Ukraine's defense and economic stability."

The WEF is a Switzerland-based organization that gathers the world's government, business, and civil society leaders "to shape global, regional, and industry agendas." This year, the meeting is scheduled for Jan. 15-19.

The Swiss Tages-Anzeiger newspaper first reported on Zelensky's plans to travel to Switzerland on Jan. 8, citing undisclosed sources. Zelensky's foreign visits are often unannounced until the last moment for security reasons.

According to Tages-Anzeiger, Zelensky plans to stay in Switzerland for at least two days. He didn't specify in his social media post how many days his visit would last.

Opinion: Seizing Russia’s frozen assets is the right move
As Russia’s war against Ukraine continues to wreak havoc both regionally and globally, the Ukrainian people and their allies demonstrate remarkable determination and courage. But nearly two years after Russia launched its full-scale invasion, it is increasingly clear that the international community…
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