Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, mentioned on Monday he was prepared to meet Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Minsk for talks that he stated must also involve the United States, Germany, Britain, and France.
Relations between Ukraine and Russia have been very stiff since Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and its assist for armed separatists within the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine – in a conflict that has killed 13,000 people.
A ceasefire settlement signed within the Belarussian capital Minsk in 2015, with French and German support, has had solely restricted success in ending hostilities.
“And now I wish to turn to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Need to talk? It’s crucial. Let’s focus on to whom Crimea belongs and who will not be there within the Donbass,” Zelenskiy mentioned in a social media video, without elaborating.
Zelenskiy, a comic actor with no earlier political experience, swept to power after an April presidential election. He has mentioned beforehand he can negotiate with Russia to end the battle in eastern Ukraine whereas sticking to Kiev’s purpose of at some point becoming a member of the European Union and NATO – anathema to Putin.
The Kremlin mentioned it could contemplate Zelenskiy’s provide.
In Monday’s assertion, Zelenskiy additionally criticized a proposal, now deserted, from Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, who is thought for his pro-Russian views, for a joint on-line convention with Russian state TV to assist end the battle in eastern Ukraine.
Zelenskiy stated the plan was “a cheap however dangerous” attempt to divide Ukrainians into two camps once more forward of parliamentary elections due on July 21.