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Ukraine’s Zelenskyy Invites Putin to Hold Talks on Donbas in Minsk
8 July, 2019

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy invited President Vladimir Putin to hold talks on the situation in Donbas in Minsk in presence of leaders from the United States, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

This was stated in a video comment on the teleconference announced by Ukrainian TV channel NewsOne with Russia 24. Zelenskyy branded the idea "a cheap, but dangerous PR move with the intention to divide Ukraine into two camps ahead of the elections."

"Need to talk? We do, let’s talk. Let's discuss, who Crimea belongs to and whether someone is present in Donbas. I propose the following people for the talk: me, you, U.S. President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron. Place? I think [Belarus President] Alexander Lukashenko would gladly host us in Minsk," Zelenskyy appealed to Putin.

"We are not changing or rejecting any diplomatic format. We are offering to talk," he added.

Moscow responded by saying that "the Kremlin will consider the proposal of President of Ukraine Zelenskyy to meet with Russian President Putin in Minsk, but are not yet in a position to give an answer because the format is new and moreover, the U.S. is not part of the Normandy format." This was stated by the press-secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov, reports TASS.

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has since supported the proposal of Zelenskyy to host the meeting to resolve the conflict in the Donbas in Minsk. This was reported by the press service of Lukashenko.

In the same statement, the Ukrainian president spoke to Ukrainians:

"We are not a camp. There is no need to divide us. You are now being manipulated by politicians who really want to get into parliament. There is just one difference between them: one part of them will plunder (speaks Russian -ed.), and the rest will plunder (switches back to Ukrainian -ed.). 

Think about it: both the so-called pro-European and so-called pro-Russian politicians live in peace and quiet with each other in the upmarket neighborhood of a famous village near Kyiv.

And after staging demonstrations in the Parliament and skirmishes in the studios of political talk shows, they meet behind a three-meter-high fence of someone's estate and raise glasses of expensive whiskey. The whiskey that costs your three monthly salaries.

What do you think, what do they drink to? Russia or Europe? I think, for sure – not to Ukraine.

I ask you to remain calm and not to be subjected to provocation. Our response will be appropriate – in order to preserve the calm, order and information security of the country."

Zelenskyy also separately addressed the journalists of NewsOne: "Someone bought the channels, but not you. You are not property! Not a collection of [Viktor] Medvedchuk, not servants of [pro-Russian politician Vadym] Rabinovich. You are the fourth power, you too are servants of the people."

Earlier, on July 7, the TV channel belonging to the business partner of Viktor Medvedchuk, NewsOne and the Russian propaganda channel "Russia 24" announced a teleconference called "We Need to Talk".

In this regard, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) initiated an extraordinary meeting of the National Security and Defense Council and proposed to impose sanctions against NewsOne and 112 Ukraine, which is also part of the same Novyny (“News”) media holding.