For the first time: Zelensky phones Putin

Volodymir Zelensky and Vladimir Putin held a telephone conversation on July, 11. This is the first time the presidents have come in direct contact since Zelensky’s being elected.

The two leaders discussed the situation in Donbas and the prisoner swap issue, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. They agreed to continue this work at the expert level.

In addition, the possibility of further contacts in the Normandy format was considered.

On July 8, Volodymyr Zelensky offered Vladimir Putin to come to Minsk and discuss the issues of Crimea and Donbas, According to him, US president Donald Trump, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Emmanuel Macron should also take part in the would-be summit.

“Need to talk? Yes, we do. Let’s talk. Let’s discuss whose Crimea is and who does not have any troops in Donbas <…> What about a venue? I think Alyaksandr Lukashenka would be happy to host us in Minsk,” the Ukrainian president said in a video posted on social media.

Zelensky’s idea to invite the US and the UK implies the need to reshape the Normandy format; the Kremlin has already expressed its dissatisfaction over the would-be involvement of the United States.

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