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Putin says may discuss ways to end Donbass conflict at possible meeting with Zelensky

Russian leader Vladimir Putin believes ways to resolve the Donbass conflict could be the focus of his possible talks with Ukrainian President-Elect Vladimir Zelensky, as Putin himself said at a press conference wrapping up his visit to China.

"If we ever meet in order to hold talks - and I don't rule out such a possibility - we will first and foremost have to discuss ways to end the conflict in southeastern Ukraine," Putin said, adding that there was no alternative to the Minsk Agreements in that regard.

The Russian leader pointed to the statements Zelensky had made during the election campaign that he did not plan to sign a decree granting amnesty to the Donbass conflict's participants and did not intend to provide special status to certain Donbass areas as stipulated in the Minsk Agreements. "How will it be possible to resolve the LPR-DPR issue without implementing the Minsk Agreements? I would very much like to ask him this question and discuss these matters with him," Putin said.

He also noted that a large number of Ukrainians had voted for Zelensky. "Everyone is tired of the conflict [in Donbass]. Everyone expect the new authorities, including the future president, to achieve these goals. But the future president announces from the very start that he doesn't plan to implement the Minsk Agreements. If so, how does he plan to resolve this issue?" Putin said, adding that he would like to understand Zelensky's position.

[Source: Itar Tass, Beijing, 27Apr19]

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