KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s new president could regain control over the separatist-controlled east of his country within months and get cheap gas and major investment from Russia if he does a deal with Moscow, the Kremlin’s closest ally in Ukraine said.
Viktor Medvedchuk, a prominent figure in Ukraine’s Russia-leaning opposition, outlined the prospect in an interview before a presidential election runoff in Ukraine on Sunday which polls show political novice Volodymr Zelenskiy should easily win.
Kremlin - Zelenskiy - TV - Comedian - Experience
He said the Kremlin was keen to know more about Zelenskiy, a 41-year-old Russian-speaking TV comedian who has no political experience, to understand if he is someone it could do a deal with, something it failed to do with incumbent Petro Poroshenko.
“They don’t have any expectations in Moscow,” he said. “They want to see what happens afterwards, who will be in his (Zelenskiy’s) entourage, and what he will do and with whom.”
Citizen - Medvedchuk - Russia - Words - Weight
A Ukrainian citizen, Medvedchuk does not represent Russia, but his words carry weight due to his close friendship with President Vladimir Putin and track record as a go-between between the two nations.
Medvedchuk said he had known Putin for 19 years, that the Russian leader is godfather to his daughter, and that he had held talks with Putin in Moscow as recently as two weeks ago.
Kremlin - Back - Poroshenko - Zelenskiy - Candidates
The Kremlin has made clear it will be glad to see the back of Poroshenko but has not commented on Zelenskiy, saying only that it is watching candidates’ statements closely and hopes any new president can implement a peace deal on Donbass, eastern Ukraine, which has been under separatist control since 2014.
The Kremlin did not immediately respond when asked if Medvedchuk was acting on its behalf or if the outlines of his proposal were in line with its own thinking.
Medvedchuk - Zelenskiy - Years
Medvedchuk, who said he had only met Zelenskiy once “eight or nine years...
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