Switzerland to host major peace summit on Ukraine: What you need to know

Switzerland to host major peace summit on Ukraine: What you need to know

On Saturday, Switzerland will host a high-stakes conference designed to find ways to achieve peace in Ukraine, following the Russian invasion of the country in 2022. Here’s what you need to know about the Bürgenstock summit, who will be coming and ultimately whether it has a chance of success.

Switzerland to host Ukraine peace talks on June 15

On June 15, representatives of nations around the world will converge on the Bürgenstock resort in Canton Nidwalden as part of the latest peace summit on Ukraine. The conference, announced by the Swiss government in January 2024 and requested by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, will seek to find a way to achieve peace between Russia and Ukraine, alongside discussions around prisoners of war, nuclear weapons and food security.

Who will be attending the Ukraine peace conference in Switzerland?

Speaking at a press conference, Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis (FDP) confirmed that almost 90 different countries and states, and several international organisations are set to attend the peace conference.

Half of the countries attending are from Europe, and half of all nations will be represented by their head of state. Some of the heavy-hitters slated to attend include the Ukrainian president himself, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, EU Council President Ursula von der Leyen and US Vice President Kamala Harris.

What will happen at the Bürgenstock summit and will progress be made?

The conference is set to begin on Saturday afternoon with a plenary session, followed by working groups that will discuss a variety of different topics related to peace in Ukraine and other global crises. The conference is then expected to produce a final declaration, focusing on how to end the war. 

When asked why the meeting was being held in Switzerland, Cassis said that considering the country's tradition of humanitarian aid and neutrality, it “could not stand idly” by and do nothing to resolve the conflict.

Viola Amherd (Centre), the President of Switzerland, told reporters that rather than a climax of peace talks, the Bürgenstock conference should be seen as a “first step” towards ending hostilities. Ideally, the Swiss government hopes to set the terms for what a Russo-Ukrainian peace would look like, and ultimately how Russia can be involved in the process.

Will Russia be attending the peace talks in Switzerland?

Indeed, in this case, the elephant is not in the room, as Russia is not set to attend and wasn’t invited to the conference. Cassis noted that “we have always been open to inviting Russia to the conference – but Moscow has made it clear several times that it has no interest in participating.” In a statement given to Reuters, a Russian spokesperson said that the conference was a waste of time.

For its part, Ukraine also insisted that countries must acknowledge its right to exist to attend the conference. China will also not be attending mainly because of Russia’s absence, Cassis confirmed.

Swiss security services on high alert ahead of summit

The conference itself will be heavily locked down, with around 4.000 soldiers from the Swiss Army set to be used to guard delegates. In fact, Amherd noted that Switzerland has come under increasing cyber attack in recent weeks. “We have to confront a broad spectrum of risks – and we are preparing for them,” she assured.

Ahead of the summit, Russian television has taken misogynistic aim at the Swiss President herself, accusing her in a "documentary and panel discussion" of being ugly, addicted to luxury, a “baby killer” and a “satanist.” Amherd said that she had not summoned the Russian Ambassador over the incident despite being encouraged to do so, arguing that “the disinformation campaign is so extreme that one can see that little of it reflects reality.”

The Russian media has been invited to attend and cover the conference.  

Thumb image credit: CornelPutan /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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