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Zelenskiy's talks with other leaders signal diplomatic flurry around Ukraine

Zelenskiy's talks with other leaders signal diplomatic flurry around Ukraine

World

Zelenskiy's talks with other leaders signal diplomatic flurry around Ukraine

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy held talks with U.S. President Joe Biden and with the leaders of Turkey and France on Sunday, stepping up diplomatic activity around a war started by Russia nearly 10 months ago.

"We are constantly working with partners," Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address, adding that he expects some "important results" next week from a series of international events that will tackle the situation in Ukraine.
While Zelenskiy has held numerous talks with Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan since Russian forces invaded in late February, the accumulation of discussions in just one day is not a regular event.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will hold on Monday an online meeting with G7 leaders and European Union foreign ministers to try to agree on further sanctions on Russia and Iran, and on additional aid or arms deliveries to Ukraine.
The proposed EU sanctions would target Iran over human rights abuses in its crackdown on anti-government protesters and the supply of drones to Russia, while the ninth package of Russia sanctions would place almost 200 more individuals and entities on the EU sanctions list.

"The G7 meeting will be held today - Ukraine will participate and now we have coordinated our positions with America," Zelenskiy said after his call with Biden.
Zelenskiy also said that he talked with the U.S. president about Ukraine s need for effective anti-aircraft defence systems to protect the population.

Biden told Zelenskiy Washington is prioritising efforts to boost Ukraine s air defence through the assistance it is offering, the White House said in a readout.

Earlier, Zelenskiy said that he held "a very meaningful" conversation with Macron on "defence, energy, economy, diplomacy" that lasted more than an hour and "very specific" talks with Erdogan on assuring Ukraine s grain exports.

Turkey, which acted as a mediator in peace talks in the early months of the war, also worked alongside the United Nations in a grain deal, which opened up Ukrainian ports for exports in July after a six-month de facto Russian blockade.

Erdogan s office said the Turkish leader had a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, in which he had called for a quick end to the conflict.

The Kremlin said in a statement that in addition to talking about energy and grain, Putin has also "outlined his fundamental assessment of the situation surrounding Ukraine."

Putin said last week that Moscow s near-total loss of trust in the West would make an eventual settlement over Ukraine much harder to reach and warned of a protracted war.

Macron has championed diplomacy in the conflict. But some Western allies, Kyiv and the Baltic countries have been unnerved by the French president s mixed messages. Macron has said it was up to Kyiv to decide when to negotiate with Moscow, while also saying that security guarantees were needed for Russia.

There are no peace talks and no end in sight to the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War Two, which Moscow calls a "special military operation" and Ukraine and its allies call an unprovoked act of aggression.

Moscow shows no signs of being ready to respect Ukraine s sovereignty and pre-war borders, saying the four regions it claims to have annexed from Ukraine in September are part of Russia "forever." The government in Kyiv has ruled out conceding any land to Russia in return for peace.

On the ground in Ukraine, the entire eastern front line has been continuously shelled with heavy fighting taking place between the Russian and Ukrainian forces.

Moscow has also been targeting Ukraine s energy infrastructure with large waves of missile and drone strikes since October, at times cutting off electricity for millions of civilians in winter, when mean temperatures can be several degrees below zero Celsius. 




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