19 Apr 2019 20:24

Zelensky says he never spoke to Putin, has not been to Russia since war began

KYIV. April 19 (Interfax) - A Ukrainian presidential candidate has denied that he ever spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin and said that he has not been to Russia since the events began in Donbas.

"In regard to Putin. I have never spoken to Putin in my life, ever... I have not been to Russia since the beginning of the war," Zelensky said during debates at Olimpiyskiy national sports complex in Kyiv on Friday.

Responding to his opponent Petro Poroshenko's allegation that he had been communicating with Putin, Zelensky siad that he was aware of a telephone conversation between Poroshenko and Putin, facilitated by Viktor Medvedchuk, head of the political council of the Ukrainian opposition party Opposition Platform - For Life.

Zelensky also denied dodging the Ukrainian army mobilizations which has occurred in several stages since 2014.

"With regard to my 'hiding' [from mobilization]: I've been to the ATO [anti-terrorist operation] area very many times, you know that I've been doing a lot of shooting of the 'Vechirniy Kvartal' [television show]. Who am I hiding from? What draft notice I am hiding from? I am a public figure, how could I not be found and served a notice? What are you talking about? You are lying again," Zelensky told Poroshenko.

"I am not your opponent. I am your verdict," Zelensky said.

He also denied having ever talked to the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

"About Kadyrov: never spoke to him in my life," Zelensky said, rebutting Poroshenko's remark that Zelensky "called Ukraine a prostitute" and begged Kadyrov for forgiveness.