Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky are likely to welcome future negotiation meetings at Normady four talks

Political advisers to the Normandy Four leaders of Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia will meet for talks in Berlin today.

putin and zelensky

Photo: UNIAN

Political advisers to the Normandy Four leaders of Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia will meet for talks in Berlin today.

On the agenda will be a potential meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky. The new Ukrainian president has spoken favourably about easing tensions with Russia and resolving the stalemate in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region, which has pitted government forces and Russian-backed rebels against one another for over five years.

Since being elected, Mr Zelensky has worked to ease tensions with Moscow. Both countries are close to finalising an exchange involving at least 60 prisoners—including 24 Ukrainian sailors detained during the 2018 Kerch Strait incident.

Both Mr Putin and Mr Zelensky would likely be receptive to a meeting. For Mr Zelensky, a diplomatic solution to the Donbass crisis would be viewed positively by a population wary of war and present the new Ukrainian leader in a favourable light as a negotiator. Mr Putin would likely welcome such a move too, seeing a meeting as a chance to increase Russia’s legitimacy in deciding the final outcome for the region.

For Ukraine, the purpose of a meeting would be to negotiate an end to the proxy war and would involve a full restoration of government sovereignty. For Russia, a victory would involve at a minimum some degree of independent governance or recognition of legitimacy awarded to the rebels.