Author Topic: Ukraine: Volodymyr Zelensky Tells Davos He Is Not Sure Putin Is ‘Alive’  (Read 213 times)

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Ukraine: Volodymyr Zelensky Tells Davos He Is Not Sure Putin Is ‘Alive’

Frances Martel 20 Jan 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said at an event on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Thursday that he is unsure if his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, is “alive” and does not know who within the Russian government he would have to speak to if he wanted to begin talks with Moscow.

The bizarre remark follows months of pressure on both sides of the Ukrainian war to come to the negotiating table, pressure largely ignored, and sometimes mocked, by both the Russian and Ukrainian governments. Zelensky and Putin last met in talks in 2019, which did nothing to resolve their ongoing conflict.

Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, “annexing” its Crimean peninsula. Putin’s government then proceeded to support a prolonged military engagement by rebel forces in the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine for years, finally announcing the “annexation” of that territory into Russia in September 2022.

Russia’s involvement in Ukraine became direct in February 2022, when Putin announced a “special operation” to oust Zelensky from power, calling him an illegitimate “Nazi” rumor. Russian claims that Zelensky – elected as the “pro-Russian” candidate in the 2019 presidential election – is not the rightful president of Ukraine because a popular uprising resulted in the resignation of then-President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, long before Zelensky started his political career.

The new phase of the war has raged for nearly a year. Zelensky has shown little interest in dialogue; the president outlawed negotiations with Putin in October, insisting Ukraine would only engage in talks with another Russian president.

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