As the press service of the Kremlin reported, the conversation took place on the initiative of the Ukrainian side. The Kremlin said, “Under discussion were questions of the conflict settlement in the southeastern Ukraine as well as the concerted actions to exchange detained prisoners held by both sides. An agreement has been reached to go on with this work at the level of experts. A possibility was discussed to continue maintaining ties within the Normandy Four”.
The press office of the Ukrainian President provided more details. “The release of the captured Ukrainian sailors was the key issue of the conversation. The presidents also spoke about the possibility of returning other Ukrainian citizens who are currently held in the territory of the Russian Federation. The sides discussed ways to continue negotiations under the Normandy Format”.
On the same day, July 11, Vladimir Putin while answering questions of journalists about his response to the proposal of the President of Ukraine to conduct a meeting with the leaders of Germany, France, the United States and Great Britain, said the following, “We’ve never rejected any of the proposed formats including the extended Normandy Format of negotiations”. The Russian leader added, “But, first, such Normandy Format and a summit meeting should be prepared well. It is an obvious thing. Second, we’ll be able to talk about something only after the new Government of Ukraine has been completely formed and elections to Parliament of the country have been carried out. We’ve never refused to keep contacts provided these contacts do us good. This proposal can be interesting too”.
Earlier, on July 8, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his video address, “I want to ask President of Russia Vladimir Putin, “Should we talk?” Yes, we should. Let’s discuss whose Crimea is and who is absent in Donbas. I offer to gather together: I, you, U.S. President Donald Trump, United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron. We are not going to change or refuse from any diplomatic formats. We offer to talk. We need to talk, don’t we?”