A social media post claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksiy were once friends, and are now at war with each other, is going viral on video-sharing platform TikTok.
In the video, four world leaders – French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksiy are seen walking together and take their seat around a roundtable. Flags of their respective countries are seen behind them, and in the end, Volodymyr Zelenksiy is seen drinking out of a glass.
The video has 16.6k likes and 61 comments at the time of publishing.
Fact Check/ Verification
To check the authenticity of the claim, Newschecker conducted a keyword search with the words “Putin and Zelenksiy meeting in-person”, and “Putin and Zelenksiy first meet”. We found that the clip was taken from one of the videos from the Paris Summit in 2019.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected President of Ukraine on April 21, 2019.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksiy first met in person at that summit. French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted the meeting at the Elysee Palace.
During this summit in 2019, it was a critical opportunity for Zelensky to resolve conflict in eastern Ukraine as it was a priority in his presidency. The Paris meeting aimed to get a 2015 peace agreement in Minsk signed by Ukraine and Russia in Minsk, brokered by France and Germany.
The Minsk Agreement
A 12-point ceasefire deal was agreed upon by both Ukraine and the Russia-backed separatists in September 2014 which included prisoner exchanges, deliveries of humanitarian aid and the withdrawal of heavy weapons. The provisions were violated by both sides and the agreement broke down shortly.
The meeting is not between friends but the very first meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksiy.
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Voice of America, Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtCelfdlxtw
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