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Apr 27, 2021
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Biden, Zelensky, Zelensky, Biden: Putin decides who to meet first

    Biden, Zelensky, Zelensky, Biden: Putin decides who to meet first

Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev / TASS

“The Russian President confirmed his desire to meet, but suggested that I meet in Moscow. I have already given the task to the head of the president’s office Andrey Ermakso that he would contact the administration of President Putin, and they found mutual understanding, found a time frame and a place or city where we can meet, “Zelensky said during a speech in Chernobyl.

In this regard, the following is interesting: with whom Putin will meet earlier, with Zelensky or Biden?

The other day, we recall, the media reported that the meeting of the presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States could take place during Biden’s European tour, approximately June 15-16 in Brussels. However, a little later, a Kremlin official Dmitry Peskov denied this, saying that the proposal to hold a meeting in June was made during a telephone conversation between the two leaders, but no specific agreements have yet been made.

In any case, it is clear that it will be easier for Biden to negotiate a meeting with Putin, he certainly will not add value to himself, like Zelensky. And VVP will be more willing to enter into dialogue with him.

– Apparently, Zelensky was encouraged by the recent words of the Russian president about his readiness to receive him in Moscow, so he decided to develop this topic, – suggests political scientist, head of the Open Analytics project Roman Travin

– In general, this position of Vladimir Putin is rather a surprise, despite the reservation that if the issue of Donbass is discussed, then Zelensky must first meet with representatives of the LPR. Because lately there was an impression that the Kremlin had already completely put an end to Zelensky and did not see any point in negotiations with him.

“SP”: The other day in Kiev, they said that Zelensky would not go to the “aggressor”, that the meeting should take place in the “Normandy format” … They have no idea what the left hand is doing there? Or has Zelensky suddenly changed his mind?

– This is generally a common situation for the Ukrainian authorities and especially for the Zelensky team. Probably, sometimes this happens because of inconsistency and because of the heterogeneous environment of the Ukrainian president, but in some cases it is more of a deliberate tactic. The logic here is to voice different messages for different audiences, which they would like. Well, Zelensky could change his mind, of course, and decide that this would be a good PR move.

“SP”: Where do you think the presidents will meet?

– It could be some of the CIS or EU countries. For example, Hungary. You can remember how Vladimir Putin met with Donald Trump in Finland. If both sides really consider this meeting possible and necessary, it will not be very difficult to find an acceptable option.

“SP”: Does the meeting place have a special meaning?

– It has something, but the main thing is the essence of the negotiations. And not only for Zelensky, who would demonstrate some kind of movement towards peace, which Ukrainian society expects, but also for Putin, who may consider a meeting in a bilateral format useful. But under the current conditions, reaching any significant agreements at such a meeting is unlikely, and their further practical implementation is even less likely.

“SP”: Could Biden meet with Putin before Zelenskiy?

– Putin’s meeting with Biden is more likely than with Zelensky, also because it will make more sense in terms of reaching real agreements. If such a meeting does take place, then there is no doubt that the Ukrainian issue will be raised.

– Zelensky said only about his fundamental readiness to meet with Putin, but did not say where exactly, the conversation continues political scientist Vsevolod Shimov

“SP”: If not Moscow or Kiev, then where?

– Perhaps on some “neutral” site like Helsinki or Geneva. Theoretically, Minsk could claim the role of such a platform, and Lukashenka I would not fail to take advantage of this opportunity, but lately Ukraine has been consistently beating pots in relations with Minsk, so the Belarusian option is likely to disappear.

From other post-Soviet countries, such a meeting could be hosted by Kazakhstan, which has equal relations with both Moscow and Kiev.

“SP”: What can Putin and Zelensky agree on?

– In this case, it is important to designate the “desire to negotiate”, and negotiations, as you know, can drag on for decades. It is important for Zelensky to demonstrate his “constructiveness”. Then, when the next negotiations end in nothing, you can always blame everything on Moscow and demand additional support from the West against the “aggressor”.

“SP”: Do you think a meeting between Zelensky and Putin is more likely than a meeting between Putin and the American president?

– Anything can be. The meetings may or may not take place, but most likely they will lead nowhere. Expect some breakthroughs in both the American and Ukrainian directions, relations are consistently bad, and there are no prospects for their improvement.

“SP”: And if Biden meets with Putin earlier, what will that mean for Kiev?

– I think nothing. America is interested in keeping Ukraine as a thorn in the side of Russia; Washington will continue to support the anti-Russian puppet regime in Kiev. Therefore, there can be no fear there that Putin and Biden will come to an agreement behind the back of Ukraine.

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