MOSCOW, February 25 — Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a ceasefire during a personal meeting in 2019, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said at the press conference “Ukraine. 2024”.
“I told him that the Minsk agreements would not work, because the very idea of withdrawing troops to the contact line would not work. <…> He constantly raised the issue of a ceasefire. <…> I don’t remember exactly if anything surprised me in personal contact. Because it was generally as if in another life. <…> I don’t remember the details,” he admitted.
The heads of the two countries met in 2019 at the Normandy Format summit in Paris. At the same time, Putin also held bilateral meetings – with Zelensky, French President Emmanuel Macron and former German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The West has repeatedly stated that the Minsk agreements, designed to resolve the conflict in Ukraine peacefully, were considered by Washington, Brussels and Kiev as a way to gain time to prepare the Ukrainian Armed Forces for war with Russia. Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke about this. Former French President Francois Hollande later supported her claim.
The Russian leader subsequently admitted that these statements came as a surprise to him, since he was counting on the sincere desire of European countries to strengthen peace and avoid a military clash in Ukraine.
Moscow has repeatedly indicated that it is ready for negotiations, but Kyiv has introduced a ban on them at the legislative level. As presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov emphasized, the Kremlin does not see the prerequisites for the situation to transition to a peaceful direction. According to him, the absolute priority is to achieve the goals of the special operation, but now this is only possible through military means.