In a recent interview with Sky News, President Zelensky told British journalist Kay Burley that Russia’s Vladimir Putin is “nobody” to him following the full-scale invasion and that he has no interest in meeting with him.
"It is not interesting for me," he said about a potential face-to-face meeting with Putin. "Not interesting to meet, not interesting to speak. Why? Because we had meeting with him in Normandy Format, it was before the full-scale invasion. I saw the man who said one thing and then did another."
Zelensky and Putin first met during the Normandy Format summit in December 2019, seven months after Zelensky became president. The Normandy Format was launched in 2014 to find a peaceful resolution to the War in Donbas and the Russian annexation of Crimea. Ending the war was also one of Zelensky’s main campaign promises during the presidential election in 2019. All parties agreed on the need for peace and the implementation of the political provisions of the Minsk agreements. However, Russia’s promises were short lived, as Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia briefly took place at the start of the invasion but have stalled. The first meeting was held on Feb. 28 in Belarus and consecutive meetings were held in Turkey.
In December 2022, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called for a peace summit at the United Nations on the condition of establishing an international war crimes tribunal for Russia. In January 2023, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there is currently “no prospect” for settling the war by diplomatic means.
Russia continues to occupy swathes of Ukrainian territory and launch mass missile attacks that have claimed numerous civilian lives and inflicted severe damage on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. Intelligence points to a surge of Russian forces in southern and eastern Ukraine in the coming weeks.
Zelensky also told Sky News that Ukraine is keeping track of the massive number of Russian casualties on the battlefield. He added that as a father himself, he couldn’t understand how Russian families allowed their sons to be sent off to die fighting in an unjust war.