In an episode of the program “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin”, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Putin has taken a wait-and-see attitude towards Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, because it is not yet clear what his approach will be towards the essential items on the agenda, Interfax reports. In particular, it is unclear whether Ukraine will maintain its “hostile” stance toward Russia. The Kremlin would also like to understand the new president’s attitude to the Minsk Agreements.
“On the whole, the approach is positive and there are moderately optimistic expectations, but for the time being, unfortunately, no one has complete clarity on what will take place in Kyiv,” Peskov said.
Putin did not congratulate Zelensky on his victory in the second round of presidential elections in Ukraine. He explained that this was because Zelensky refers to Russia as an “enemy” in his speeches. “I’m not saying that he, without having done anything, has already ruined everything with his statements. Let’s wait and see,” he said.
Putin emphasized that he is still willing to make contact with the new Ukrainian president. “I hope that we will meet each other at some point. By all appearances, he is a good specialist in the field he worked in previously – he is a good actor. But it is one thing to play somebody, and another thing to be somebody,” Putin said during a plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
On 13 June in an interview with the MIR television company, Putin expressed the hope that Ukraine’s new leaders would work vigorously to restore relations between Kyiv and Moscow and not “hide behind Russophobic fabrications in order to avoid dealing with internal problems”.
The Russian president also expressed certainty that relations between Russia and Ukraine will be restored “inevitably, regardless of the position of the elite in Kyiv”.