Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy will not travel to Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This was announced on Saturday, April 24, by Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Deputy Head of the Kiev delegation in the contact group on Donbass Alexey Reznikov.
“During the war, to go to the capital to meet with a person who is a representative of the aggressor country, it seems to me a rather strange proposal,” he said on the air of the Savik Shuster’s Freedom of Speech program.
Reznikov stressed that Zelensky can talk with Putin first of all about the end of the war in Donbass, and only then about the restoration of Russian-Ukrainian relations. According to him, such a meeting cannot take place in Moscow.
The Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine also clarified that if it does take place, negotiations should be held with the participation of the leaders of Germany and France, in the “Normandy format”, added Gazeta.ru.
On April 20, the President of Ukraine offered to meet with Vladimir Putin “anywhere” in Donbass. According to Zelenskiy, the different views of Kiev and Moscow on the past and the future can be seen not as a problem, but as an opportunity.
Political analyst Oleksandr Asafov, in turn, expressed the opinion that Zelensky, by offering a meeting to Putin, is working on the “internal media agenda” of Ukraine.
On April 22, the Russian leader responded to Zelensky’s proposal. Putin specified that if Kiev wants to restore relations, Moscow will only welcome it. In addition, the head of state added that in order to develop bilateral relations, the Russian Federation will receive Zelensky in Moscow at any time convenient for him. At the same time, Putin stressed that if Zelensky intends to talk about Donbass, if it is better to start negotiations with the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, and not with third countries.
On April 22, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko also noted that Zelensky needed to negotiate the situation in Donbass with the leaders of the DPR and LPR.
In turn, the head of the LPR, Leonid Pasechnik, on the same day already announced his readiness to meet with Zelensky at any point on the contact line in Donbass. The head of the DPR Denis Pushilin made a similar statement.
On April 21, the Senator of the Russian Federation from the Crimean region, a member of the international committee of the Federation Council Sergei Tsekov noted that Zelensky’s proposal to meet with Putin in Donbass is an acting antics. According to him, the Ukrainian leader has demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to stop the war in Donbass.
On the same day, political analyst Dmitry Solonikov said that Zelensky made this proposal to meet with Putin in order to show the Western partners Ukraine’s attempts to resolve the situation in the region.
Since 2014, Kiev has been conducting a military operation against the residents of Donbass, who refused to recognize the results of the coup d’état in the country. The Ukrainian authorities blame Moscow for the current situation. At the same time, Russia has repeatedly noted that it is not a party to the internal Ukrainian conflict. Moscow called on Kiev to negotiate with the DPR and LPR, as well as to implement the Minsk agreements and de-escalation.