The presidents of Ukraine and Russia, Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin, should meet on the territory of a neutral country, says Ukraine's first President who now heads the country's delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on Donbas settlement.
"Putin said 'if you want to talk Donbas, talk with some kind of 'Donbas leaders'. That's as if these leaders today are not subordinate to Putin, Russia, or the Kremlin. They are Russia's military administrations. As chief of Ukraine's delegation to the TCG, I constantly observe this and I declare that this is exactly the case. If we talk about bilateral relations, it must be another neutral country. It cannot be Russia, it cannot be Belarus, it must be some other, neutral country. This is a normal thing, this is global practice," he told Ukraine's TV Channel 4.
It could be Finland or Switzerland, Kravchuk suggested.
- In a televised address aired April 20, 2021, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invited Vladimir Putin to hold talks in Donbas.
- On April 22, 2021, Putin's spokesman said the Russian president had been notified about Zelensky's offer.
- On April 22, Putin responded to the invitation by offering that Zelensky discuss the Donbas issues with the "leaders" of "LPR/DPR", adding that Moscow remained open for contact on any other issues.
- Spokesman for Ukraine's delegation to the TCG, Oleksiy Arestovych, has dismissed the option of direct talks with Russian proxy forces in Donbas.
- Ukraine's Ambassador to Israel Yevhen Korniychuk said Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was looking into the offer to broker the talks between Zelensky and Putin.