Zelensky unlikely to personally attend Lugano conference on Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will likely address the Lugano conference by video link. Keystone / Sergey Dolzhenko

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is highly unlikely to personally attend a conference in the Swiss city of Lugano next week that will discuss ways to rebuild the war-shattered country.

This content was published on June 30, 2022 - 19:30

Instead, Zelensky will probably address international dignitaries at the Ukraine Recovery Conference by video link next week.

“During the war, it is not possible for legal reasons for our president to leave the country because he is the person with the highest responsibility,” Artem Rybchenko, the Ukrainian ambassador to Switzerland, told a media conference on Thursday.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is one of the global politicians who is expected to travel to LuganoExternal link, in southern Switzerland, on July 4-5.

Switzerland says 41 countries and 19 international organisations, including the World Bank and the United Nations, have received invitations. Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis envisions a high-level meeting with ministers, prime ministers and presidents. Security will be tight with air space restricted and police supported by around 1,600 Swiss soldiers.

Ukraine has estimated it will cost $600 billion to rebuild the country that has been extensively damaged by Russian troops who invaded on February 24.

The Lugano event had been planned before the war broke outExternal link as the 5th Ukraine Reform Conference. The exact agenda has yet to be released but the focus of the conference has shifted from aiding political reform to helping it recover from the ongoing war.

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