(Bloomberg) -- A meeting of national security officials in Malta showed continued support for key elements of Ukraine’s so-called peace formula, according to an EU official. A total of 74 people attended, including 10 who participated online, the official said. The gathering followed similar meetings in Copenhagen in June and Jeddah in July. Armenia, the Vatican and Mexico were among new attendees; China was a notable no-show after attending the meeting in Saudi Arabia, along with Russia, whose foreign ministry criticized the gathering this week as “blatantly anti-Russian.”
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Holding the meeting now, in light of the escalating situation in the Middle East, shows that restoration of just peace is important beyond Ukraine, the EU official said. A Ukrainian peace summit, as proposed by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, remains possible but no date has been set. The main condition of Ukraine’s 10-point peace proposal is the full withdrawal of Russian troops, a demand the Kremlin has dismissed as it presses ahead with its 20-month invasion.
Among the working groups at the meeting were those focused on nuclear safety, energy security, food security, with a focus on grain exports to Africa, humanitarian issues, and restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
The UK defense ministry says “heavy but inconclusive fighting” continues around the town of Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine. “Russia has probably committed elements of up to eight brigades to the sector” and incurred high casualty rates in the process, the UK said in a thread on X, formerly Twitter.
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