From time to time, Ukraine hosts large gatherings of international investors, experts, and diplomats, and for the most part these forums and meetings take place in Kyiv where guests to this city can enjoy its beauty and splendour. However, President Zelenskyy is not, to say the least, a traditional kind of President. Under Zelenskyy’s watch, as we already know, things are going to be different. And so it was that a major Ukraine summit involving some 700 guests was held in the south eastern port city of Mariupol.
What the attendees made of the infrastructure of the city, the quality of the hotels, or the arduous journey there, has not been commented on much. What can be said is that this was not just a success due to the size of the gathering, but also something of a master stroke. Mariupol is a place located just under 20 km from the front-line of Russia’s war against Ukraine. Now firmly under Ukrainian control, the city was briefly occupied by the inaptly named “separatists” for a period in the summer of 2014.
Hosting this summit, in this place, at this time, was a very symbolic move, underscoring (without even needing to say it out loud) the fact that the war on the doorstep of Mariupol has been, since day one, fabricated by Russia. The subliminal messaging to the international press was such that if this place can have been occupied and liberated, and be a peaceful part of a united Ukraine, what does that tell you?