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Russian Officials Are Fuming After Ukraine Isolated It in Peace Talks That Even China Attended: ‘they’re Gossiping Without UsS

In the wake of last weekend’s summit in Saudi Arabia where nations gathered to discuss Kyiv’s plan to end the Ukraine war, Russia is cutting an ever more isolated figure on the world stage. It seems to be striking a nerve.

At the summit in Jeddah representatives from 40 nations gathered to discuss Ukraine’s proposals for ending the conflict. In a surprise move even Russia’s staunchest international backer, China, sent a representative.

A Chinese presence pointed to a growing rift between Beijing and Moscow — meanwhile Russia was not invited. 

In comments to The Moscow Times, four former and current Kremlin officials familiar with Russia’s diplomacy were troubled. Ukraine had managed to gather traditional Russian allies at the summit, not just its usual backers in the West, they noted.

One official said Ukraine was seeking to cut out Russia and get countries to rally behind its version of how to end the war. 

“Kyiv’s goal is to make these countries if not allies, then partners. And then if a general consensus is reached, Ukraine will try to deepen it and raise more sensitive issues to build such a consensus,” the diplomat told the publication. 

A former high-ranking Russian diplomat also expressed concern to The Moscow Times about Russia’s isolation, but added that Moscow’s participation in discussions was necessary for ending the conflict. 

“The fact that we’re not there is naturally unpleasant for us. As is the fact that they’re gossiping without us,” the former official said. He did, however, say that “you cannot solve” the war without Russian input. 

In recent months, Russia and Ukraine have intensified their struggle to for diplomatic support for their versions of ending the war. Ukraine wants Russia to be totally expelled from its territory, while Russia wants to retain the portions of eastern and southern Ukraine it has conquered and claimed as its own. 

A major focus is large economies outside the West — Brazil, India, China and South Africa — which alongside Russia are part of the so-called BRICS group.

Many non-Western powers, including India, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia, have sat on the fence during the conflict, refusing to condemn Russia’s war or impose sanctions, yet also not offering Russia explicit backing. Each of the BRICS nations apart from Russia sent representatives to Jeddah.

A June summit convened by Ukraine in Denmark was more sparsely attended, suggesting there has been progress even in the few weeks since then.

Ukraine hopes to persuade nations by pointing to the devastating effect of Russia’s war of the grain exports many countries depend on. Russia recently ended a truce with Ukraine to protect the grain trade, sparking widespread condemnation. In return Moscow has promised free grain to some African countries to offset the shortfall.

The Jeddah conference shows that more countries are broadly receptive to Ukraine’s plans to end the war, and are increasingly weary of Russia’s intransigence.

“The meeting in Jeddah, inconclusive as it may have been, signals a continuing shift in Ukraine’s favor, albeit at glacial speed,” wrote Stefan Wolf, a professor of international security at Birmingham University, in a blog post. 

Source : Imsider