Could SPIEF be a platform to break the ice between the US and Russia or is it just China?
Recently, Kiev actively discussed the topic of a possible meeting of the heads of Russia and Ukraine – Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Zelensky. As has become customary for Ukrainian diplomacy, the topic is presented with a touch of scandal, and the situation itself is presented as an attempt by Moscow to avoid a “concrete” conversation with Kiev on the most problematic issues of Ukraine. the bilateral agenda – settlement in Donbass and the subject of Crimea, writes Alexi Ivanov, correspondent in Moscow.
An additional intrigue is the place of such a meeting. Kiev initially suggested that the two presidents meet as close as possible to the dividing line between Ukraine and the Donbass rebels. It is clear that the desired effect was purely propaganda: to demonstrate to Russia that the Donbass is above all “a problem created by Moscow”. The Kremlin reacted in its own way to this proposal, proposing an initiative for Kiev to discuss in Moscow.
“First of all, Ukraine should discuss the conflict in the Donbass region with Russia and only then bilateral relations,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Reznikov said. According to him, this meeting cannot take place in the capital of the “aggressor country”
On April 20, Zelensky suggested that he meet Putin “anywhere in the Ukrainian Donbass where there is a war”. In response, Putin said that if the Ukrainian president wants to discuss the Donbass problem, he must first meet with the heads of the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk (RPD and RPL) and only then with the Russian leadership as a third party. nobody. Putin added that the Russian side was ready to discuss relations between the two countries with Ukraine, and suggested that Zelensky come to Moscow for this “at any time that suits him.”
On April 22, DPR and LPR leaders Denis Pushilin and Leonid Pasechnik announced that they were ready to meet Zelensky at any time on the contact line in Donbass “for an honest and open conversation”. President of Ukraine Oleksiy Arestovich, however, said that “there will be no negotiations with the so-called LPR, DPR, and there cannot be.” the participation of representatives of the self-proclaimed republics in the discussion of the situation in Donbass will render the negotiations unconstructive.
The exchange of views on a possible meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky continues. This was stated on May 23 by the press secretary to the head of Russia Dmitry Peskov.
The Kremlin spokesman said Russia was only ready to discuss the Crimea issue within the framework of cross-border cooperation between the two countries. “They say: we will discuss Crimea. But if we discuss Crimea in terms of developing cross-border cooperation … You know, Russia has cross-border cooperation in the regions with foreign countries. If in this regard, I’m sure Putin will be ready, but if we discuss anything other than that Crimea is a region of the Russian Federation.
Peskov noted that the Russian Constitution stipulates that it is a criminal offense to speak of the alienation of the territories of the Russian Federation. “Of course, there is still a lot of work to be done, we will continue to exchange views, and we will see what happens. But such an exchange of views is taking place,” he concluded.
The main condition of the meeting between Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin is to discuss issues of official interest to Kiev, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said on May 20. According to him, the date of such an event is not discussed, but Kiev will insist on this content of the meeting.
The coordination of a possible meeting of Ukrainian and Russian presidents, Vladimir Zelensky and Vladimir Putin, is very difficult, it is necessary to discuss the issues of Donbass and Crimea, said the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Dmitry Kuleba.
Earlier, Russian President’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that contacts on a hypothetical Putin Zelensky meeting are underway, that there are sketches of possible topics, but the process is not easy.
“In principle, this meeting was born very difficult. At the same time, we confirm that we are ready to speak. The main topic, of course, is the end of the war and peace in Ukraine. We will not meet with Putin in so not to talk about Donbass and Crimea, ”Kuleba told local media.
“We have to talk to Putin, because we understand that decisions in Russia are made by Vladimir Putin – and no one else. But I’m sure if this meeting takes place, the president will stand up for Ukrainian interests firmly. The meeting will take place. when we, Kiev, make sure that at this meeting we can discuss in detail the issues that are essential for us, “he added.
Relations between Moscow and Kiev deteriorated in 2014 after the coup d’état in Kiev that sparked conflict in the Donbass and led to the annexation of Crimea. Ukrainian authorities and Western countries have repeatedly accused Russia of interfering in Ukraine’s internal affairs. In January 2015, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a declaration calling Russia an “aggressor country”.
Russia denies the accusations of Kiev and the West and calls them unacceptable. Moscow has repeatedly stated that it is not a party to the internal Ukrainian conflict and that it wants Kiev to overcome the political and economic crisis. Crimea became a Russian region after a referendum held there in March 2014, in which 96.77% of voters in the Republic of Crimea and 95.6% of people in Sevastopol voted to join. Russia. Ukraine still considers Crimea as its territory, but temporarily occupied.
Russian leaders have repeatedly stated that residents of Crimea, democratically, with full respect for international law and the Charter of the United Nations, voted for reunification with Russia. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Crimea issue is finally closed.