Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has invited his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to meet in eastern Ukraine, where long-simmering tensions have resurged in recent weeks.
Zelensky extended the invitation on Tuesday night during a public address, urging Putin to restore a ceasefire in the region where he said “millions of lives” are at stake.
“A proposal was made to meet at the contact line in order to see and understand the situation as accurately as possible. What should I understand? I go there every month. Mr Putin!” Zelensky said.
“I am ready to go even further and invite you to meet anywhere in the Ukrainian Donbass, where there is a war,” he said.
A build-up of Russian troops along the border has reignited tensions in eastern Ukraine, where government forces have been locked in a tense standoff with Russian-backed separatists demanding independence from Kiev since 2014.
The US has assessed that the Russian military has moved more than 40 battalion tactical groups toward the Russia-Ukraine border, which could total up 40,000 troops. It would be the largest buildup of Russian troops near Ukraine since 2014, when Russian forces invaded the country and occupied the Crimean Peninsula.