MOSCOW, September 13. /TASS/. A meeting between Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Vladimir Zelensky of Ukraine is not possible as long as Kiev intends to raise the topic of Crimea, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.
"No, it would be out of the question [to discuss Crimea] if the issue is raised. Discussing Crimea is clearly not possible. Therefore, this wording actually calls into question the hypothetical possibility of such a meeting," Peskov said, commenting on reports that Kiev planned to discuss the status of Crimea in potential negotiations with Moscow.
The Kremlin spokesman noted that a meeting between the two leaders was possible if the agenda included Kiev’s steps to implement the Minsk Agreements and decisions made at the Paris summit of the Normandy Four group, as well as bilateral relations.
Zelensky’s spokesman Sergei Nikiforov said earlier that the Ukrainian president was ready to hold a meeting with Putin at any moment in order to discuss issues related to the territories that Kiev did not control, including Crimea. In April, Zelensky sought to meet with Putin to discuss the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The Russian leader, in turn, noted on April 22 that as far as the Donbass issues were concerned, the Ukrainian authorities had to meet, first and foremost, with the leaders of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics. Putin also said that he was ready to receive Zelensky in Moscow at any convenient time as long as it was about boosting bilateral relations. Peskov confirmed later that the two countries maintained contact on organizing a bilateral summit but, in his words, "the process is not proceeding smoothly."