Patrick J. O Brien

Shifting tone, peace talks on Eastern Europe’s dirty war in Ukraine

Latvian entrepreneur and EXT founder Gatis Eglitis accompanying his colleagues as they travel into Ukraine this month.  (Image courtesy of author)
Latvian entrepreneur and EXT founder Gatis Eglitis accompanying his colleagues as they travel into Ukraine this month. (Image courtesy of author)

I reconfirmed the Government of Malta unequivocal commitment to standing with Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression and Malta’s unwavering and continuous support to the Ukrainian people,”Malta’s Foreign Affairs Minister stated to Journalist Patrick J O Brien ahead of peace talks this weekend.

Having lived here for 15 years to see this this tiny island of Malta play a pivotal role in international diplomacy by hosting a meeting for peace at the request of the Ukrainian presidency is indeed history in the making. This meeting, scheduled for the weekend, will continue the diplomatic efforts that have taken place earlier this year in Saudi Arabia and Denmark. It represents yet another significant step toward seeking resolution to the unresolved tension in Eastern Europe. More than 50 countries will be represented during talks to discuss ways to end the Ukraine conflict, one of the country’s top diplomats has said. It is not clear if President Zelensky or other leaders, such as Turkey’s Recep Tayipp Erdogan will be present in person, or send representatives. During the Jeddah talks, Zelensky spoke to the conference via video link. The inclusion of Turkey, a significant actor in the region, underscores the comprehensive and inclusive approach that Ukraine and Malta are pursuing to achieve a peaceful resolution.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia and Denmark played host to similar gatherings, each contributing to the momentum toward peace. The upcoming gathering in Malta is expected to build upon these discussions and further explore potential pathways to enduring peace in Ukraine. The choice of Malta as the location for the meeting is significant. Known for its neutrality and diplomatic goodwill, Malta has been a member of the European Union since 2004 and has successfully hosted several other high-profile international meetings. Its central location in the Mediterranean also makes it an accessible meeting point for European and Middle Eastern countries alike. The Ukrainian leadership has shown its commitment to peace through the organization of these meetings. The inclusion of a wide range of international actors, such as Turkey, represents recognition that any lasting resolution will require broad international consensus and cooperation. It is important to remember that peace can only be achieved by making both Ukraine and Russia feel secure. Both. Not one of them.

Support for Ukraine has remained strong, suggesting that the public understands fully the wider implications for European security of the outcome of the war. The public sides overwhelmingly with the Ukrainians, which are clearly perceived as the victims of an aggression. The bravery of Ukrainians, and the unity of their partners, have been the defining features of this war. Rather than collapsing, Ukraine and its supporters have shown an inspiring determination and solidarity in the face of aggression.

Unfortunately, the war shows little prospect of ending. The violence may subside at times, but the absence of any sort of resolution will mean that it could reignite at any moment. To prevail in that war, the Russian regime must hope this Ukrainian spring will give way to a Russian winter. It wants to make progress on the ground by slowly capturing more territory. It counts on cold weather, soaring energy prices, and the burdens of hosting refugees to undermine public support in Europe. It believes that domestic politics in the United States will start to weaken transatlantic unity. And the Kremlin thinks it can win the battle of narratives, particularly in the global south. President Zelensky continues to call for aid and assistance with many EU countries spearheaded campaigns of support. Latvia continues to raise that mantle. The country has been advocating for the establishment of a Special International Tribunal for the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine. As one of the founding members of the Register of Damage for Ukraine, Latvia is committed to obtaining increased support for this important initiative, which now brings together more than 40 countries and the European Union.

Since the beginning of the Russian war in Ukraine, the Latvian enterprise and private fund “Entrepreneurs for Peace” has sent more than €7.7 million in aid to Ukraine. With donor support, 132 generators, 300 vehicles, including emergency vehicles, trailer tractors, boats, 271 drones, 80 police and night vision equipment, 80 mobile charging stations and computers, as well as 6,502 units of clothing and equipment the country continues to reach out its arms to the Ukrainian people and its forces.

Ukraine needs the support of all of us, but not only moral support is important, it is even more important to support Ukraine practically in the fight against the aggression,” Stated EXT founder and Latvian entrepreneur Gatis Eglitis one of the many businessman who traveled to Ukraine with their convoy earlier this month.

As we await the outcome of the upcoming peace talks we must also hope for a political settlement to this crisis before we see further escalations.

About the Author
Patrick J O Brien is an acclaimed journalist and Director of Exante who has been working in the media for almost 25 years. Patrick who hails from Ireland is based in Malta and a contributor to some of the world’s leading financial and political magazines. Recently he returned from Ukraine where he was reporting at ground level on the escalation of war and spent time documenting the work of the Red Cross and many human right organisations
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