The President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelenski, has spoken out in favor of a meeting on Monday with his American counterpart, Joe Biden, before meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16.
“I believe that this type of consultation has to take place face-to-face, a lot cannot be discussed on the phone,” said Zelenski in an interview with Axios. He admitted, however, that the US president’s “busy schedule” means that the meeting may not take place anytime soon.
He has expressed that, as the “guarantor of the Ukrainian constitution, he is ready to defend Ukraine anytime and anywhere in the world”. “I am ready to meet him (Biden) and discuss all the details before he meets with Putin,” he said.
In this regard, Zelensky has indicated that the Biden government has not held consultations with the Ukrainian authorities in preparation for the summit with Putin. “Not yet, and I think it depends on you,” he added. However, he noted, “I think it would be a mistake not to do it.”
The Biden-Putin summit will be the first high-level meeting between the leaders of the two countries since July 2018, when Putin met with former President Donald Trump in Helsinki.