Despite fears to concede in Ukraine, Kiev's top diplomat has persisted to strongly refuse to make concessions to Moscow at a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Western leaders later this month, AFP reported on Saturday, September 14th.
At the summit to try to end fighting in eastern Ukraine, newly-appointed foreign minister Vadym Prystaikoin referenced President Zelensky, making fun of his physique with an ironic comment.
The minister added that he did not believe that Western support for Kiev has altered, speaking on the sidelines of an international conference called Yalta European Strategy organised in Kiev by Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk.
Moreover, in the country's bid to achieve progress on the conflict in eastern Ukraine with pro-Russian separatists that has lasted more than five years, both the Russian and Ukrainian presidents are set to meet in the coming weeks in Paris for a summit that will also involve the French president and the German chancellor.
This will be the first summit in three years and comes as French President Emmanuel Macron has pushed for a review of ties with Russia. However, some Ukrainian politicians and media fear that the West has tired of Ukraine's long-running crisis and will push Zelensky to make damaging concessions to Russia.
According to US special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker, free and fair elections can only take place in a free, fair and secure environment, adding that such process means that Russia and its delegates cannot be controlling if fair elections are to be achieved.
Ukraine and Western countries accuse Russia of giving military backing to the separatists in eastern Ukraine and of de facto controlling the situation there, which Moscow denies.
Relations between the ex-Soviet neighbours have plunged into unprecedented crisis since Russia's annexation the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in 2014, followed by the outbreak of the separatist conflict in which around 13,000 people have died.