Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says he is ready for any format of talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for the return of Ukrainian territories and the release of political prisoners.
"As for the Russian president, we must agree with him... The Minsk format is a priority, but no one cancels other formats. I am ready for any format that can bring us closer to the end of war and the return of our territories and people. To any format. I do not care. We need results," he said at a press conference on the first year of his presidency, according to an UNIAN correspondent.
Zelensky reiterated three prisoner swaps had already taken place, as a result of which 135 people were freed from the captivity of the so-called "republics" and from Russia.
"And now we are talking with the Russian Federation about a possible swap after COVID-19 [pandemic]. I want us, despite COVID-19, to talk about this, about the return of our political prisoners who are in Russia or in Crimean prisons. There is a result, it is measured in human lives," he said.
The president said he had not held phone conversations with Putin during the pandemic.
"Now, everyone is engaged in their own country over the coronavirus. We do not let the issue of the return of our people, our territories and illegally annexed Crimea disappear off the radar screen. We don't," Zelensky said.
According to him, Germany and France have agreed a meeting in the Normandy format should be held immediately after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.