Zelensky says ready for direct talks with Putin
KYIV. March 13 (Interfax-Ukraine) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he is ready for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin without intermediaries and on terms of a dialogue.
"I am ready for talks with Putin. But just with him. Without any of his intermediaries. This must be done on terms of a dialogue, instead of ultimatums," Zelensky said in an interview with the Italian channel Rai 1, published on Telegram on Friday.
Zelensky said that the issue of talks with Putin was growing more complicated day after day and added that Ukrainian society was negatively disposed towards talks between the Ukrainian and Russian presidents.
As to what kind of peace Ukraine wants, Zelensky said, in particular, that Russia must show respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the neighbor, its people, language and traditions.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin said that no one is rejecting the possibility of a Putin-Zelensky meeting, but it must be prepared, in particular, by the elaboration of a respective agreement.
"This stance has been unwavering. You know well the stance of the Russian president, and no one is rejecting the possibility of this meeting a priori but it must be prepared. The preparations for this meeting can and should be made exclusively through the elaboration of a respective document, an agreement to be finalized at the summit level," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at a press briefing on Friday in response to a question as to whether the possibility of a Putin-Zelensky meeting was being discussed in the context of Zelensky's statements on the meeting's parameters.
"A meeting can hardly be held without these preparations," Peskov said.
As to the document, Peskov said, "As we have said before, there has been no progress. Our terms are well-known, clearly formulated, are on paper, and have been presented to the Ukrainian side. There's been no answer."