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Report: Ukraine’s Leader to Face Down Putin for First Time Ukraine’s Leader to Face Down Putin for Firs...
While Washington has been fixated on U.S. President Donald Trump’s interactions with his Ukrainian counterpart—and whether those conversations represent an impeachable offense for the American leader—Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been focused on ending the war in his country’s east, where more than 13,000 people have been killed in a five-year-long battle against Russian-backed separatists.
Zelensky’s efforts will reach a significant symbolic milestone on Monday, when he is scheduled to have his first-ever meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Paris. There, the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France, collectively known as the Normandy group, will meet together for the first time in three years to discuss ways to resolve the conflict.
The talks are not expected to yield any breakthroughs, but the stakes could hardly be higher for Ukraine’s neophyte president as he contends with a distracted Washington and a stubborn Moscow—as well as a French president who has sought rapprochement with Putin.
Since he was sworn in as president in May, Zelensky has attempted to prove that he intends to make good on campaign promises of peace by negotiating a prisoner exchange with Russia and reaching an agreement with separatists to a mutual withdrawal from key points along the front line. Even as he pushes forward on a raft of anti-corruption reform efforts, Ukrainian voters see an end to the war as a make-or-break issue for Zelensky.
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