Zelensky says ready for direct talks with Putin
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky declares that he is ready for direct negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war in Donbas and return Russia-occupied territories and mentioned a "one-year deadline" for the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
"Despite the fact that society evaluates the direct negotiations between President Zelensky and President Putin differently, I'm sure that we should do this taking 'Minsk' into account as a separate issue. There are some things that you can understand only when you're hand to hand, and there are some answers that you can hear being face to face to draw one hundred percent conclusions, and to follow another plan - Plan B," he said at a press conference in Kyiv.
Zelensky said he is giving himself another year to make progress on the Minsk track.
"We'll keep fighting for Minsk until the end, because sanctions on Russia are linked to Minsk. And you know perfectly well that everyone wants them lifted, not only Russia, but also a lot of European countries, which I can understand, because they're also suffering economically from these sanctions. But, as I've told you, we'll keep fighting. I allot us a year to fight," he said.
"This process has somewhat slowed down because of the coronavirus, and therefore I'm giving myself another several months to press this home after all, so that we can find a diplomatic way out of this situation, according to the Minsk Agreements," Zelensky said.
He said he does not really want to have to pursue plans B and C, even though they do exist.
"As for the Russian president... We can't do anything with that; we have to talk with them, and we have to reach agreements. Again, the Minsk format is a priority, but nobody is ruling out any other format. I'm ready for any format that can put us closer to the end of the war and to returning people to our territory - I mean, any format. I don't care; we need results," Zelensky said.