Biden officially snubs Zelensky’s ‘peace summit’

Vice President Kamala Harris and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will go to Switzerland instead

US President Joe Biden has chosen not to cancel a scheduled Hollywood fundraiser and will be sending Vice President Kamala Harris and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to the Ukraine “peace summit” in Switzerland instead.

The international conference proposed by Vladimir Zelensky is intended to drum up support for Kiev’s demands regarding the conflict with Russia. Moscow has not been invited, however, while Beijing has declined to participate.

“Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Lucerne, Switzerland on June 15 to participate in the Summit on Peace in Ukraine,” her spokesperson Kirsten Allen said on Monday, adding that this “will underscore the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to supporting Ukraine’s effort to secure a just and lasting peace.”

Allen also confirmed that Sullivan will be joining Harris at the conference, scheduled to take place at the Burgenstock resort.

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Biden’s travel itinerary had him scheduled to visit Europe later this week, to attend the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings in France and “part of” the G7 summit, scheduled for June 13-15 in the south of Italy. This has given rise to speculation that he could “stop by” Switzerland or have Zelensky come to him.

Last week, the Ukrainian leader tried to pressure the US president into lending legitimacy to the “peace summit,” arguing that his absence would “not be a particularly strong move,” and let down other world leaders who “need President Biden.” Zelensky also claimed that anyone who missed the conference was a tool of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Monday’s announcement, however, appeared to confirm reports that Biden would prioritize a political fundraiser in Hollywood, headlined by actor George Clooney and expected to feature actress Julia Roberts and former President Barack Obama.

Harris, whose 2020 presidential bid fizzled even before the first primary, became Biden’s running mate as part of a deal with the Congressional Black Caucus to endorse the elderly Democrat. Although the White House has rebranded the current presidency as a “Biden-Harris” one and tried giving her several important portfolios – from immigration to abortion and voting rights – Harris has mainly been regarded as a gaffe machine on par with her boss.

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