Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said on Monday he was ready to meet Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Minsk for talks that he said should also involve Germany, Britain, the United States and France. Relations between Ukraine and Russia have been very strained since Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and its support for armed separatists in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, in a conflict that has killed 13,000 people.
A ceasefire agreement signed in the Belarussian capital Minsk in 2015, with French and German support, has had only limited success in ending hostilities. “And now I want to turn to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Need to talk? It is necessary. Let’s discuss to whom Crimea belongs and who is not there in the Donbass,” Zelenskiy said in a social media video, without elaborating.