Nazarbayev offers Kazakhstan as neutral site for Putin-Zelenskiy talks

NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — Kazakhstan’s former President Nursultan Nazarbayev says he is working to arrange a face-to-face meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, RFE/RL reported.

Speaking at a conference in the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan, on November 12, Nazarbayev said Zelenskiy had agreed to take part in such a meeting, while Putin had been informed about it.

Russia-Ukraine relations have been tense since Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 and began supporting pro-Moscow separatists in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

“If they [Putin and Zelenskiy] need a neutral site for talks, I have offered Kazakhstan,” Nazarbayev said.

Russia has denied that its armed forces have been involved in the territories controlled by Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine’s east, where more than 13,000 people have been killed since 2014.

Nazarbayev’s office said earlier that the former president discussed by phone with the Russian leader the possibility of holding a Putin-Zelenskiy summit. It remains unclear when exactly Nazarbayev talked about the issue with Zelenskiy.

On November 11, Putin discussed plans for holding a summit between Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany in a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Kremlin said earlier, without mentioning Putin-Zelenskiy talks.

Known as the Normandy format, the last four-way talks took place in October 2016.

Sergey Kwan

TCA