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Ukraine’s Zelenskiy likely to meet Putin over Donbass conflict, ceasefire at the “finish line”

CA, 26 Apr 2021
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday he was likely to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the conflict in eastern Ukraine, adding that all sides were at the "finish line" of agreeing on a new ceasefire.

"It seems to me that everything is going towards the fact that this meeting will take place," he said.

Zelenskiy has sought a meeting with Putin after the two countries traded blame over a spike in clashes in the Donbass conflict and a build-up of Russian troops near Ukraine's eastern border and in annexed Crimea.

Russia began a troop pullback last week and Putin said he was willing to meet Zelenskiy in Moscow. Zelenskiy said he had instructed his chief of staff to contact the Kremlin to discuss when and where the two leaders could meet.

Ukrainian troops have battled Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine in a conflict that Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people since 2014. More than 30 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed this year after ceasefire agreed last July collapsed.

Asked if a new ceasefire could be in place for the Orthodox Easter this weekend, Zelenskiy said "I believe that we are already at the finish line for this agreement."

Speaking at an event to mark the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Zelenskiy said in a speech that he did not want the Donbass conflict area to turn into another no-go zone like the contaminated land around the atomic plant.


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