Zelensky ready for talks with Putin ‘in any shape or form’

17 February 2022, 06:21 PM

To achieve peace on Donbas, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is ready for any format of talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the presidents office said in a statement on Feb. 17.

Zelensky added that despite Moscow’s public pronouncements, the Kremlin doesn’t seem eager to engage in good faith.

“Whenever Russia publicly says that it’s ready to discuss de-escalation and our bilateral relationship – every time, immediately after, we send a request to Russia to set up a meeting in whatever format. But despite their public position, in reality, they aren’t ready to talk to use, they don’t want to,” said the president.

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The president said that the Ukrainian government has made several attempts to contact Putin when Russian troops started to coalesce around Ukraine’s border. One such recent request was the invocation of the Vienna Mechanism under the Vienna Document of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, of which Russia is a member, with a request for an explanation of Russian military movements near the Ukrainian border.

“Ukraine’s requests get responses, but they don’t result in meetings,” Zelensky said.

“We can’t even get confirmation for a phone call.”

Ukraine is interested in whatever help other countries can provide in securing a meeting the Russian side, according to the president.

“I never refused any of the countries that offered (to help) us (to get a meeting with Putin),” added Zelensky.

“We are interested in different formats for talks with Russia.”

Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan proposed to host a meeting between Zelensky and Putin in Istanbul or Ankara.

Turkey also says it’s ready to become the new platform for Trilateral Contact Group’s meetings.

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