The first crack in the ice, perhaps? This will not please the hawks on either side:
According to reporter Alina Nazarova, Ukrainian President Zelensky initiated contact by phoning President Putin of Russia today (Tuesday, December 31). The two men exchanged New Years Greetings while discussing the positive compromises that have been reached between the two nations, in a sort of year-end whirl, this past week. The most imortant, of course, being the exchange of prisoners and allowing hundreds of wretches to return home in time for Christmas.
Second important being the agreement that was reached on the gas transit. In a whirl of sudden developments, the two sides reached a compromise which included both sides dropping their legal suits against each other; and Ukraine getting the gas that it needs, plus $2-3 billion dollars in transit fees, annually.
In the end, perhaps, Moscow made more concessions. Moscow held more cards, but Ukraine had the support of Europe, so what can you do? It’s like in a divorce where you’re just eager to get it over, even if you have to give the wife the summer house. Who needs all that lingering bitterness, especially at the start of a New Year?
Also, Russia showed, once again, that it can be generous and benevolent. Putin was so kind and benevolent, that he even made Zelensky look good (to his increasingly disillusioned subjects); and that’s saying something.
Here is the Kremlin press release on this event.
December 31, 2019, 13:20 PM.
On the initiative of the Ukrainian side, a telephone conversation took place between Vladimir Putin and the Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.
We underscore the importance of concluding a “packet” deal which allows for the continuing of uninterrupted transit, starting January 1, 2020, of Russian gas to Europe across the territory of the Ukraine. We note the constructive character of the proceeding negotiations, the results of which create a conducive atmosphere for resolving other mutual problems.
We give a positive assessment to the exchange of prisoners between Kiev and the Donbass, which occurred on 29 December, along the lines of “all for all”. We state that this event took place within the framework of the agreements made at the “Normandy Four” summit in Paris on 9 December, and will help strengthen our mutual trust. We accentuate the necessity to continue on the systematic realization of the Minsk Accords by all sides engaged in this conflict.
The (two) Presidents exchanged greetings/congratulations on the New Year. Hope was expressed for the further development of Russian-Ukrainian relations in 2020.
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