KYIV: Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky today proposed holding a global peace summit this winter, in a video message Kyiv was hoping would be broadcast ahead of the football World Cup final in Qatar, although it appeared unlikely Fifa would allow the move.
CNN reported on Friday that Zelensky had asked world football’s governing body Fifa to let him share a message of peace before the final.
“We offered Peace Formula to the world. Absolutely fair. We offered it because there are no champions in war, there can be no draw,” Zelensky said in a video message issued by his office.
Russia invaded Ukraine in February, in what it calls a “special military operation”. The conflict has killed thousands of civilians and displaced millions from their shattered homes.
“I announce the initiative to hold a Global Peace Formula Summit this winter. The summit to unite all nations of the world around the cause of global peace. Stadiums’ stands get empty after the match, and after the war cities remain empty,” he said.
Zelensky had wanted to appear via video link before Argentina take on defending champions France at Doha’s Lusail Stadium for the final with an expected global audience of hundreds of millions, CNN reported.
Fifa did not respond to repeated requests for comment, but it appeared unlikely to give Zelensky a platform given its stance on political messages at the World Cup.
Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter that Fifa “shows a lack of understanding of the disaster that the Russian federation is dragging the world into by starting a war in Ukraine”.
Russia fired more than 70 missiles at Ukraine on Friday in one of its heaviest bombardments since the start of the war, knocking out power in the second-biggest city and forcing Kyiv to implement emergency blackouts nationwide.