President Zelensky refused to be interviewed by Russian news agency

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who previously claimed to be open for interviews by all media outlets, including Russian ones, refused to talk to RIA Novosti due to “tight working schedule,” reported the agency.

The Presidential Office issued a statement, saying that it was “grateful for the request,” yet the was no possibility to schedule the interview with President Zelensky.

“Unfortunately, due to the tight schedule of President Volodymyr Zelensky, it is impossible to schedule an interview for now,” the statement reads.

RIA Novosti reported that it has been trying to hold an interview with the Ukrainian President “in any suitable format” for more than a month. Editor-in-Chief of the agency stated that the reporters wanted to discuss Ukraine-Russian relations.

Although President Zelensky had no time for an interview with Russian reporters, people close to him, who spoke on condition of anonymity, answered questions of a different Russian media outlet Izvestia.

According to Izvestia’s source, President Zelensky, who is soon to visit the White House, is intending to ask the US President Donald Trump to call on leaders of Russia, Germany and France to proceed with talks in Normandy format.

Kiev has been long talking about Normandy format talks, yet foreign leaders said it was not reasonable to hold the talks for no specific reason as no topics have been put on the agenda.

Izvestia reported that President Zelensky believes that Trump’s support will “strengthen Ukraine’s position.”

“France and Germany, despite their unconditional support, are very cautious in their statements. Before meeting with Putin in the Normandy format, Zelensky needs to maximize his negotiating position,” a source from Kiev told the reporters.

Evgeny Balitsky, Ukrainian politician, said that Zelensky will obviously seek Trump’s assistance on the issue. “Ukraine is in a very difficult economic and political situation,” he said.

“Zelensky is now looking for any communication that could help him garner support. He needs such a meeting in order to ‘win big’ before the anticipated Normandy talks, since big players listen to big players. So in order to put on political weight, he is taking, in my opinion, this sort of logical step.”

Before going to the US with a visit, President Zelensky is to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Official website of Ukrainian president issued a statement Wednesday: “President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy will hold negotiations with Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu in the framework of his visit to Ukraine on August 19.”

“Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Benjamin Netanyahu will also pay tribute to the victims of the Babyn Yar tragedy,” the statement added.

Natalia Veselnitskaya — official website

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