Russia to offer Zelensky deal on gas and the Donbas

Moscow sees a chance to improve relations with Ukraine following the outcome of the presidential elections in Ukraine, announced Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday as he commented on the results of the second round of voting after which 41-year-old Vladimir Zelensky won with over 70% of the vote.

According to Medvedev, in order to improve relations ruined by the annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas, we need “honesty” and a “pragmatic approach” to rise above any “political considerations”.

In an interview with Reuters, Viktor Medvedchuk, a personal friend of President Vladimir Putin and an unofficial representative of Kremlin interests in Kyiv, discussed what Russia is willing to offer Ukraine’s new administration.

According to Medvedchuk, who had traveled to Moscow to meet with Putin and representatives of the Russian government two weeks ago, Moscow promises a 25 percent discount on gas if Ukraine agrees to resume direct purchases from Gazprom instead of reverse flow purchases from European countries as has been the case since 2015.

Secondly, Putin could agree to release the 24 sailors who were detained last November after the incident in the Kerch Strait during which Russian border guards bombarded and rammed three Ukrainian navy ships.

Thirdly, Russian money worth billions of dollars would flow to Ukraine if economic ties were to be restored, Medvedchuk said.

Moscow’s main goal is to return the territories of the Donbas controlled by the pro-Russian militants to Kyiv on its own terms.

A deal on how to implement peace in the east of Ukraine can be reached “within a few months” and enforced within “six to eight months”, Medvedchuk said, adding that any negotiations on this issue should be conducted by Kyiv, Moscow and the two breakaway pro-Russian regions.

  Russia, Ukraine, Zelensky, Poroshenko, Putin, Donbas, Kremlin, Crimea, Kyiv