Speaking as part of his traditional televised ‘Direct Line’ question-and-answer session with the public on Wednesday, Putin dismissed the idea of a summit.
“Why should I meet Zelensky?” the Russian leader asked. “If he has given up his country to full external control, the key issues about life in Ukraine are resolved not in Kiev but in Washington, and, to some extent, in Berlin and Paris. What then would we talk about?"
He added that he would not “refuse a meeting of this kind,” but said he would have to first “understand what we could talk about.”
In April this year, Zelensky invited Putin to meet for negotiations “anywhere in the Ukrainian Donbass, where a war is taking place.” He later said such a summit would be “inevitable.”
Putin replied at the time that he would host Zelensky in Moscow to work on repairing bilateral relations. However, he added, Russia would not discuss the war-torn Donbass region without the participation of the leaders of the two self-proclaimed breakaway People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, whose forces have been fighting pitched battles with Kiev’s own troops.
Earlier this year, the leader of Ukraine’s largest parliamentary opposition bloc, Viktor Medvedchuk, used an exclusive interview with RT to accuse Zelensky of turning the country into an American “colony” with “external governance” having been imposed. Medvedchuk is now facing high-treason charges linked to supposed business interests in Crimea.