Russia - Wikiquote
But amid the developments, there is also concern in Kyiv that its backers in the West may see the current moment as the best or last real chance for peace in Ukraine and thus push its leadership to make painful compromises. In addition to the deaths, more than 30, people have been wounded, and some 2 million people have been displaced since the war broke out in April Swaths of Ukraine's easternmost Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which combined is about the size of the U.
All of this has hampered Ukraine's economy and efforts to reform its institutions.
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The war has persisted in part because Moscow has failed to withdraw Russian forces fighting alongside separatist militants and turn over control of the national border in the conflict-plagued area to Ukraine, commitments outlined in a peace deal hashed out in Minsk in February Zelenskiy made establishing peace in eastern Ukraine a key promise in his hugely successful presidential and parliamentary election campaigns. Analysts say that will allow him more flexibility in peace talks than his predecessor, Petro Poroshenko.
But Zelenskiy must strike a delicate balance. If the inexperienced president is thought by Ukrainians to cede too much to Russia in any deal, it could cost him much political capital and stir unrest among more nationalist groups that view any concessions as an act of betrayal.
Prystayko insisted that Zelenskiy would not make such steep concessions. The novice president, a comic actor and TV star, "isn't tall but he's very strong physically, he trains a lot, it will be very hard to twist his arms," he said with a smile. Unless it should fall through, Zelenskiy will be tested fairly soon at a Normandy Four meeting with the leaders of Russia, Germany, and France.
The last such meeting of the group was in October A date has not yet been set, although Prystayko said that Ukraine, Germany, and France had agreed to hold talks in Paris at the initiative of French President Emmanuel Macron, on September He said that Russia, however, declined that offer.
Macron spoke with Putin by phone on September 8, and the French president's office said they agreed that the prisoner swap between Kyiv and Moscow had given momentum to talks on resolving the war in eastern Ukraine. With Putin's approval ratings falling since his reelection and his political party taking a beating in a Moscow election on September 8, a senior Western diplomat in Kyiv also noted that it might be a good time for the Russian president to turn the country's attention elsewhere.
Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said last week that Russia wanted to hold the meeting, but that three preconditions should be met beforehand. They include forces in eastern Ukraine disengaging in three key areas along the front line, Kyiv and Moscow agreeing on the terms of autonomy for the areas not under government control, and a preliminary agreement on what the summit's conclusions should be.
Suggesting a possible roadblock, Prystayko said that the sides remained at odds over the level of autonomy for the eastern regions and that the third precondition, which he learned about from the media, came as a surprise. He said that it had not been discussed during the nine-hour meeting between political advisers of the Normandy Four countries in Berlin on September 2.
Should the summit take place, one of the most controversial issues set to be discussed will likely be holding local elections in the regions under Russia-backed separatist control. Jim Belushi. Tom Arnold.
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