From the day of his inauguration in May, Mr Zelensky has pushed for a summit of the ‘Normandy’ quartet of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia. Meeting with his opposite number in the Kremlin was, as the rookie president saw it, a crucial part of his pre-election promise to end Ukraine’s five-year war in 12 months. And just as keen to secure the tetes-a-tetes was French president Emmanuel Macron, eager to make his mark on the world and build better relations with Moscow.
But agreeing a date with Mr Putin proved anything but straightforward, taking six months and several “confidence-building” concessions. Most controversially, it meant Ukraine agreeing to fast-track an amnesty and elections in the conflict zones of the Donbass.
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