Top US official agrees to meet Ukraine war sceptics in Denmark.
Jake Sullivan to fly to Copenhagen at Kyiv’s request to meet India, Brazil and others in ‘global south’ Jake Sullivan, US national security adviser, is expected to attend the meeting in Denmark.
Joe Biden’s top national security aide will fly to Denmark this weekend at the behest of Kyiv’s government for an unannounced meeting with representatives of several developing countries that have not condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, has agreed to attend the meeting in Copenhagen with officials from countries including India, Brazil and South Africa, according to people familiar with the plans. The list of attendees has not been finalised and could change before the gathering, one of the people cautioned. The diplomatic offensive comes as Ukrainian leaders have acknowledged their highly-touted counteroffensive is progressing more slowly than hoped. Officials from Turkey and possibly China could also attend.
One of the people familiar with the plans said that, following the Ukrainian request, Washington has been encouraging China, India, Brazil, Turkey and South Africa to attend. Sullivan will travel with Victoria Nuland, the number-three official at the US state department. A senior EU official will also participate. The White House declined to comment.
The planned meeting to expand the pro-Ukrainian coalition comes after Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president, warned that Kyiv’s counteroffensive launched earlier this month to roll back Russian advances had been “slower than desired”. With the war expected to rage into next year, western officials worry about preaching the virtues of Ukraine’s resistance to the converted without making sure their arguments have wider appeal. “Only little do we realise how much the rest of the world is not convinced,” said one European official.
“They are not convinced. It’s a terrible thing to acknowledge.” Bilateral trade between Russia and China has soared since the full-scale invasion, while India is Moscow’s largest customer for arms exports and has significantly boosted purchases of Russian crude oil, offsetting western embargoes. Two people familiar with the plans said the officials would discuss peace principles for Ukraine in an informal setting.
One stressed that the meeting was not intended to result in any concrete outcome. The US and other western countries have backed Zelenskyy’s peace proposal — which calls for a complete withdrawal of Russian forces — but remain open to diplomatic efforts by others, including China, to press Moscow into ending its invasion. The Copenhagen meeting will come after a three-day visit by India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, to Washington, during which he is expected to discuss Ukraine with Biden, the US president. Sullivan this week said that while India had a different perspective on the war in Ukraine, it would be useful to discuss the conflict with Modi. He added that Zelenskyy had urged Biden to engage with leaders such as Modi.
“We think this actually sends a message to the coalition and Ukraine that we’re working to advocate on their behalf with a broader range of countries than just those that show up around the table either in Nato . . . or at the G7,” Sullivan told reporters this week, when discussing Modi’s visit. India, Brazil, China and South Africa — the other members of the Brics grouping alongside Russia — have refused to join western sanctions against Moscow while providing varying degrees of support to the Kremlin since it invaded its neighbour.
The west must act now to break Russia’s nuclear fever Another person familiar with the Copenhagen meeting said there was “no information” indicating that China would take part at a high level, but said it was possible a lower-level official could attend to observe the discussions. Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has said that both Russia and Ukraine are to blame for the war, while South Africa has stepped up military co-operation with Russia since the invasion. Turkey, a Nato member that has developed strong trade ties with Russia over the past decade, has maintained a good relationship with Moscow since the invasion while also pitching itself as a broker between Zelenskyy and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Additional reporting by Felicia Schwartz in Washington Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2023. All rights reserved.Reuse this content(opens in new window)CommentsJump to comments section Latest on War in Ukraine War in Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy pleads for ‘real’ reconstruction projects War in Ukraine EU agrees measures to target Russian sanctions evaders InterviewSaab AB Europe’s defence sector needs closer co-operation, says Saab boss War in Ukraine Budapest denies consular access to Ukrainian war prisoners Europe Express How the west is grappling with the sheer scale of rebuilding Ukraine Premium content The FT ViewThe editorial board How to support the reconstruction of Ukraine War in Ukraine Russian drone strikes target Kyiv and western city of Lviv News in-depthUkraine military briefing Military briefing: Russian ‘Alligators’ menace Ukraine’s counteroffensive Follow the topics in this article War in Ukraine Add to myFT US foreign policy Add to myFT Jake Sullivan Add to myFT Henry Foy Add to myFT Demetri Sevastopulo Add to myFT Comments How easy or hard was it to use FT.com today? feedback Useful links Support Legal & Privacy Services Tools Community & Events More from the FT Group Markets data delayed by at least 15 minutes. © THE FINANCIAL TIMES LTD 2023. FT and ‘Financial Times’ are trademarks of The Financial Times Ltd. The Financial Times and its journalism are subject to a self-regulation regime under the FT Editorial Code of Practice.