Zelensky victory in Ukraine presidential election creates opportunity for talks with Russia: U.S. envoy

U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker said that the victory of Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine’s presidential election creates an opportunity for a dialogue between Kiev and Moscow, local media reported on Tuesday.

“One hopes that this is, because it’s a new president, just an opportunity for a fresh start at dialogue,” Volker was quoted as saying by the Ukrainian government-run Ukrinform news agency.

It is necessary for Ukraine and Russia to have direct discussions, Volker said, adding that Zelensky desire to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “good thing.”

According to early official results, the 41-year-old Ukrainian actor Zelensky won the country’s presidential election after defeating incumbent President Petro Poroshenko in the second round on April 21.

Earlier, Zelensky said he does not rule out direct negotiations between Kiev and Moscow on the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

Relations between Kiev and Moscow have been deteriorating since early 2014 over issues of Crimea and eastern Ukraine.