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09:49 06 Sep 2021

Russia is constantly finding excuses to avoid Putin's meeting with Zelenskyy - Kuleba

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba emphasizes that Russia is doing everything possible to prevent the meeting of the presidents of the two countries.

He said this on September 5, speaking in the "Pidsumky Tyzhnia" program on the Inter TV channel.

"We're not hiding from this meeting and ready for it, but we have the impression that the Russian party is constantly finding excuses to avoid this meeting," he said.

Earlier on September 5, the Kremlin said that Kyiv allegedly had no "mutual political will" to improve relations with Moscow. According to Russian President's spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin allegedly "confirmed and reaffirmed" his political will and is ready to meet with Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

However, the spokesperson stressed that preparing for such a meeting rests on the topic of Russian-occupied Ukrainian Crimea; after all, he reminded, the Office of the President of Ukraine says to the Kremlin that Zelenskyy wants to discuss Crimea.

"The fact is that for us, there is no topic of Crimea," Peskov repeated the position of the Kremlin, which now considers the captured Crimea allegedly part of Russia. According to the spokesperson, this "cannot be an item on the agenda of the talks," and therefore the issue of organizing a meeting of the two presidents "failed to move anywhere."

In late April, Peskov also said that during a likely meeting, Putin would not be ready to discuss with Zelenskyy the situation in Donbas too.

"Dialogue can only concern the issue of bilateral relations," Dmitry Peskov said.

As the Kremlin spokesperson also stated, Zelenskyy's meeting with Putin was unlikely to be possible this year.

Zelenskyy, who has been talking about wanting to meet with Putin in person since the election campaign, stressed that the talks must include issues of the occupied Crimea and parts of Donbas, as well as Ukrainian prisoners captured in those territories.

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