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No Putin-Zelensky meeting until treaty text is ready - Russian negotiator

The text of the treaty should be initialed by foreign ministers, and approved by governments, Vladimir Medinsky noted

MOSCOW, March 19. /TASS/. The text of a treaty between Russia and Ukraine must be approved before even mentioning a possibility of a meeting between the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Zelensky, said Presidential Aide Vladimir Medinsky, who heads the Russian delegation to the talks.

"I’m absolutely not ready to comment on that. I can only say that before we even mention a meeting of the leaders, delegations of negotiators must prepare and agree on the text of a treaty. After that, the text of the treaty should be initialed by foreign ministers, and approved by governments. After that, a possibility of a summit can be discussed," he said on Friday.

Ukrainian Presidential Office Adviser Mikhail Podolyak stated earlier that a meeting between Putin and Zelensky might be organized after the work on the settlement document was completed. According to him, such meeting was possible in the next couple of weeks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in Ukraine in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years." The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories and the operation was aimed at demilitarizing and denazifying Ukraine.

The Russian Defense Ministry reassured that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, but are limited to surgically striking and incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure.