Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin could meet in Israel on the sidelines of the Holocaust memorial forum, said Alexey Venediktov, editor-in-chief of the Echo of Moscow radio station, on his Telegram channel.
The Office of the President of Ukraine responded that no meeting between the leaders has been planned. The Kremlin confirmed that a meeting is possible.
“[Putin’s] program is very full, and, if there are separate meetings, they will be ‘standing’ and will be extremely brief in nature. Of course, the president will in any case shake hands with the primary participants [of the forum in Israel], that’s inevitable. Whether lengthy discussions will take place is extremely doubtful, there simply isn’t time physically, although requests have been received, including from President Zelensky. But, as I already said, time is extremely limited, everything is tight, we are just hoping for brief individual contact,” said Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov at a press conference in response to a question from Interfax.
Zelensky begins his visit to Israel on January 23.
For the time being, only talks with Israeli leaders and a meeting with Israeli businessmen have been scheduled.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will speak at the forum in Israel. He will be followed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Vice President Mike Pence, French President Emmanuel Macron, Charles, Prince of Wales, and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Putin and Zelensky saw each other last on December 9 in Paris at a meeting of the Normandy Format leaders (Ukraine, France, Germany, Russia). At the time, Zelensky agreed to approve the special status of the Donbas on a permanent basis, and also agreed to a prisoner exchange in the format “all for all”.