The format, the venue, and the agenda of a possible future summit of Ukrainian and Russian presidents, Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin, are being coordinated by the respective administrations in consultation mode.
That's according to Mykhailo Podoliak, an advisor to the President's Office chief, who spoke with UNIAN.
"Look at the situation as a whole. If we first see amassing and then partial withdrawal of Russian troops from the Ukrainian border, with whom is it logical to discuss this? It's with the Russian side. If we see threatening moves in the Black or Azov seas, with whom is it logical to talk about? It's clear it's the Russian side," Podoliak said.
The official noted that the "Normandy Four" and "Minsk" negotiation formats continue to exist, where the Russian side is also represented and where talks are constantly held in a wider circle.
"In any case though, the dialogue between presidents – this dialogue will certainly be difficult – this is an obligatory level if we want to speed up the adoption of key decisions. So the reason why this is proposed and can be discussed – follows from the very logic of the situation," he said.
At the same time, in his opinion, the rhetoric heard from the Russian side regarding this meeting and issues that may be brought up is "a matter of form, not content."
As noted by Podoliak, Zelensky proposed a meaningful thing, namely a summit to activate processes that are stalled and to resolve issues that can only be resolved with the Russian side.
Read alsoUkraine expelling Russian consul in Odesa"President Putin, in response to this, allowed the possibility of negotiations, and this is what we proceed from. It's clear that two things are then put in place – obligatory statements of both parties as to what they see on the agenda. And at this stage the parties declare their caps and "red lines". But this is only a public, media component, which is an element of pressure diplomacy," he said.
"The second obligatory thing is real coordination of format and agenda, which is being coordinated in consultations between the Office of the President of Ukraine and the Administration of the President of Russia. Logistics, timing, priority topics, and the ultimate venue. This, by the way, is extremely difficult at this stage, because we have practically no bilateral relations... " the official summed up.
Zelensky's invitation to Putin
- Speaking in a video address on April 20, 2021, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky proposed that talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin be held in Donbas.
- On April 22, 2021, the spokesman for the Russian president said that Putin had been informed about Zelensky's offer.
- Responding to Zelensky's invitation on April 22, Putin advised that the Ukrainian president discuss the Donbas issue with chiefs of illegal armed formations in Donbas, adding that Moscow could be directly contacted only if other topics are involved.
- On April 26, Zelensky said work was underway to prepare the summit with Vladimir Putin, and that he had instructed his office chief Andriy Yermak to set it up.