Ukraine’s Zelensky Open to Negotiations With Eastern Separatists

Says he would also talk with Russia on deescalation in the region

Ukraine President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky says he is open to negotiations with Russia on deescalation of the rebellion in eastern Ukraine. He also said he wants to discuss ways the resolve the split with the ethnic Russian east.

After the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, a new pro-West government started passing laws limiting the rights of people in the Russian-dominated east. This fueled a rebellion, and in recent years, the east has been de facto autonomous.

Zelensky was initially seen as somewhat more friendly to the nation’s Russian minority, because of his time as a comedian on Russian-language Ukrainian TV. His early criticism of Russia, and calls for more sanctions, however, raised doubt if he intended serious change.

A resolution of the rebellion is almost certainly going to have to include restoring lost rights to the ethnic Russians. Zelensky’s willingness to do that is unclear, though he was deeply critical of the parliament passing more restrictions on the Russian language after his election, and before his victory was declared.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of