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In talks with Russia, Ukraine to insist on presidents’ meeting – Zelensky

Ukrainian officials negotiating with their Russian counterparts are to ensure direct talks between the countries’ leaders that could lead to bringing peace, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said late on Sunday, Reuters reports.

The Russian and Ukrainian delegations resume the talks on Monday via video links.

Ukraine has repeatedly called for direct talks between Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin, pointing to the Russian leader as the one making all final decisions.

“Our delegation has a clear task – to do everything to ensure a meeting of the presidents. The meeting that I am sure people are waiting for,” Zelensky said in his daily video address.

“Obviously this is a difficult story. A hard path. But this path is needed. And our goal is for Ukraine to get the necessary result in this struggle, in this negotiation work. Necessary for peace. And for security.”

Russia has said previously that the Kremlin would not refuse such a meeting to discuss “specific” issues. Following a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmitry Kuleba in Antalya on March 10, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said “Vladimir Putin never refuses contacts, but they should not be an end in themselves, but a way to fix specific agreements.”

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