7 Jun 2019 20:08

Putin says hoping to meet new Ukrainian president one day but does not yet know what kind of politician Zelensky will make

ST. PETERSBURG. June 7 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed hope that sooner or later he will get acquainted with the new Ukrainian president, adding that he has heard of Volodymyr Zelensky as a good actor but does not know him as a statesman.

"Now listen to me. I don't know him. I hope we will meet one day. Apparently, he is a good professional in the field where he worked: he is a good actor. I am serious. But you're laughing. However, to act as someone is one thing, and to be someone is something different," Putin said in response to a question asked during a plenary session of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum as to whether he is ready to meet with Zelensky.

"It takes talent to act. That is for sure. [It requires] many different talents. One of those talents is a capacity to transform and be someone else. You may have to change your part - the prince and the pauper - every 10 minutes and you need to be convincing as both. And the skills that a statesman needs are different. You need to have experience and knowledge, to see main problems and find solutions to them, to gather capable people in one team, put trust in them, give them an opportunity to think freely and suggest solutions, [you need] to choose from those solutions and, this is very important, to explain millions of people the motives of your act when you make your decisions," Putin said.

However, the most important thing is "to have the courage and character to take on responsibility for consequences of those decisions," he added.

"I am not trying to say that Mr. Zelensky is lacking these qualities. He may well have them. Well, he may have some shortage of experience, but that will come with time, as they say. Does he have all the other qualities I mentioned? It's certainly possible but I don't know that," Putin said.

As a political figure, Zelensky "hasn't revealed himself yet," Putin went on to say.

"What we are seeing is just controversial statements, some made during the campaign, others after the election. We have to wait and see. I am not saying that, without having done anything yet, he has spoilt everything with his statements, but we will see," Putin said.