MOSCOW, June 18. /TASS/. The rhetoric on Russia of new Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is similar to his predecessor Pyotr Poroshenko, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday.
"We are carefully watching this and we tend to agree with the stance, which is now taking shape, that these positions are rather similar," Peskov said, when asked to comment on Zelensky’s statements on Russia.
Peskov also said that Putin will find the right words to say to Zelensky if their meeting takes place.
According to Peskov, he came across one of Zelensky’s interviews, in which he had said he already had a phrase to start a potential meeting with the Russian leader. "President Putin always starts his meetings with the most appropriate words. If such a meeting [with Zelensky] ever takes place, I have no doubt that he [Putin] will use the right words," Peskov noted.
During an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper, Zelensky was asked what he would say to Putin if he held a meeting with him. The Ukrainian president said he would emphasize that Crimea and Donbass were parts of Ukraine.
"As for Donbass, he should speak about it with Donbass residents and not with Putin," the Kremlin spokesman noted. "As for Crimea, there is nothing to speak about," Peskov added.
He pointed out that the new Ukrainian president’s rhetoric was similar to that of his predecessor Pyotr Poroshenko. "We have been closely following the situation and we are inclined to agree that the similarity in their positions is becoming more and more clear," the Russian presidential spokesman said, commenting on Zelensky’s statements about relations with Russia.
After Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in a coup in February 2014, mass protests erupted in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. On March 11, 2014, Crimea’s Supreme Council and Sevastopol City Council adopted a declaration of independence.
On March 16, 2014, Crimean authorities held a referendum on reuniting with Russia. Over 80% of voters participated in the plebiscite, most of them supporting the idea (96.7% in Crimea and 95.6% in the city of Sevastopol).
On March 18, President Vladimir Putin signed the treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia and the Federal Assembly (parliament) approved the document on March 21. However, Kiev has so far refused to acknowledge Crimea as part of Russia.