The Stakes For Ukraine Are High In Monday’s Summit Between Putin And Zelenskiy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy made his latest address to the nation this week in the gym, then posted it on Facebook.

Dressed in a T-shirt and sweatpants, the 41-year-old former comedian walked on a treadmill as he rattled off the latest accomplishments of his three-month old government. Zelenskiy didn’t mention the U.S. impeachment scandal, which few Ukrainians care about. He focused instead on his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, set to take place in Paris at a summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron on Dec. 9.

“This meeting is already a victory for us,” said Zelenskiy. “I will be able to act more confidently, more strongly, if I know the country trusts me and that our whole independent nation has my back.”

For more than five years, a Russian-backed insurgency in eastern Ukraine has ground on, costing more than 13,000 lives. It has been three years since a Ukrainian leader last met with Putin. The conflict continues as a low-level war, tearing apart lives and stunting Ukraine’s development.

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