20 May 2019 13:50

Putin to congratulate Zelensky on success in normalizing relations with Russia, settling Donbas crisis - Peskov

MOSCOW. May 20 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin will congratulate Volodymyr Zelensky, who has taken office as the Ukrainian president on Monday, after he sees any progress in the normalization of bilateral relations and the situation in Donbas, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

"President Vladimir Putin will congratulate Zelensky on first successes in settling the domestic conflict in southeastern Ukraine and in normalizing Russian-Ukrainian relations," Peskov told the press on Monday.

While commenting on the inaugural speech by Zelensky, who said that Ukraine would never abandon its territories, Peskov said, "Speaking of Crimea's belonging, we have said on multiple occasions that no such question exists."

"Crimea is one of Russia's regions," Peskov said.

As for Donbas, he said, "This is an internal Ukrainian problem which can and must be resolved by the Ukrainian president primary on the basis of the clear plan, which is laid down by the Minsk Agreements."

As to whether Putin might congratulate Zelensky on his inauguration, Peskov said, "No. We will congratulate him on the first successes."

Journalists asked what Zelensky's first successes in normalizing relations with Russia should be. "The first successes will be obvious. If there are any, we will see them with our bare eyes," Peskov said.