The likelihood of a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky is significantly reduced after the Ukrainian leader’s refusal to conduct a dialogue with the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Denis Pushilin. This opinion was expressed on Monday, May 3, by the first deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots Konstantin Zatulin.
“Zelensky’s refusal [от встречи с Пушилиным] certainly means that Zelensky is still not ready to discuss the conflict with those who participate in it, but wants to shift the conversation to a meeting with Putin, which Putin, as you know, refuses and considers it fundamental, “the NSN quotes him.
Nevertheless, the parliamentarian admitted that there are many problems in relations between Kiev and Moscow that require discussion.
“He does not completely cancel the possibility of a meeting between the two presidents. Because, as Russian President Vladimir Putin said, there are a lot of problems in Russian-Ukrainian relations that should be discussed together, ”he added.
Earlier on the same day, Pushilin suggested that Zelensky might fear getting a bullet in the back from the radicals if he starts a dialogue with the self-proclaimed republics of Donbass. The head of the DPR announced his readiness to meet with Zelensky on the line of contact in Donbass. Pushilin stressed that the DPR is ready for dialogue and demands that the opinion of its residents be heard.
On April 20, the Ukrainian leader offered to meet with Putin “anywhere” in Donbass. According to him, the different views of Kiev and Moscow on the past and the future can be viewed not as a problem, but as an opportunity.
The Russian leader said in response that the primary tasks of the Ukrainian leadership should be meetings with the leadership of the DPR and LPR in Donbass. Putin also indicated that in order to develop Russian-Ukrainian relations, the Russian Federation will receive Zelensky in Moscow at any time convenient for him.
The parties to the conflict agreed on an armistice in Donbass in July 2020. Nevertheless, the issue of a political settlement was not resolved, the Minsk agreements were not implemented, and the negotiations were sabotaged.
Since 2014, Kiev has been conducting a military operation against the residents of Donbass, who refused to recognize the results of the coup and the new government in Ukraine. At the same time, the Ukrainian authorities blame Russia for the current situation. Moscow has repeatedly noted that it is not a party to the internal Ukrainian conflict. The settlement issues are being discussed in the Minsk and Normandy (RF, Ukraine, Germany, France) formats.