Will what’s happening in Saudi Arabia today make a difference?

We’ve known for a few days now that talks would be held in Jeddah today with the hope of moving closer to a peaceful end to the Ukraine war.

Russia isn’t going to be there – but China has confirmed it will attend – in a departure from its usual neutral position.

When similar talks took place in Copenhagen in June, China was absent, so with its connections to Russia, there is hope of some movement.

Ukraine will attend with national security advisers and other officials from 40 countries.

The Kremlin, despite not attending, has said it will “keep an eye” on the meeting.

Ukrainian, Russian and international officials say there is no prospect of direct peace talks between Ukraine and Russia at the moment, as Kyiv seeks to reclaim territory with its counter-offensive.

Andriy Yerkak, head of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office said on Telegram: “I expect that the conversation will be difficult, but behind us is truth, behind us – goodness. We have many disagreements and we have heard different positions, but it is important that our principles are shared.”

Ukraine is hoping to build a bigger coalition of diplomatic support beyond its core Western backers like the UK and the US by reaching out to Global South countries such as India, Brazil and South Africa, many of which have remained publicly neutral.

Mr Zelenskyy hopes the initiative will lead to a “peace summit” of world leaders this autumn to endorse his own 10-point formula, which is based on securing peace by ensuring food and energy security, and the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity in full (among others).

This is what he had to say on the talks yesterday.

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