21:47 GMT30 March 2020
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    Following the conversation between Presidents Putin and Trump, many experts focused on the joint efforts of the two countries in fighting terrorism as the main outcome of the talk; however political analyst Dmitry Abzalov pointed out to Sputnik that there seems to be one more serious achievement, and that is progress on the Ukraine crisis.

    On Saturday, Presidents Putin and Trump spoke over the phone in their first discussion about international issues since Trump was sworn in.

    According to the announcement on President Putin's official website, "Mr Putin and Mr Trump had a detailed discussion of pressing international issues, including the fight against terrorism, the situation in the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict, strategic stability and non-proliferation, the situation with Iran’s nuclear program, and the Korean Peninsula issue."

    "The discussion also touched upon the main aspects of the Ukrainian crisis. The sides agreed to build up partner cooperation in these and other areas," the statement added.

    While the statement on the Ukrainian crisis went largely unnoticed, Dmitri Abzalov, president of the Moscow-based Center for Strategic Communications, think tank noted to Sputnik that certain details suggest that the US president has joined the Normandy Four format.

    "Before making a phone call to the Russian president, Trump had been talking to Angela Merkel. Taking into account that after the conversation he was supposed to call Francois Hollande, the Ukrainian issue has been of certain importance. Donald Trump has basically begun talking to the Normandy Four," he said.

    The political analyst further suggested that even though the Ukrainian crisis seems not to be the first priority for the new US president, it would be quite advantageous to reach an agreement with Moscow on the issue. It would also be beneficial to reach an agreement on nuclear cooperation and on the Syrian crisis, as the US president needs to show some results from his first 100 days in office, he added.

    Abzalov, however, further suggested that the Ukrainian issue will nevertheless be part of the "greater deal." Ukraine, he said, is not that important for Trump's electorate. However the deal on the issue will bear great importance and the anti-Russian sanctions are pegged to the Ukrainian issue, he finally stated.

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    Ukrainian conflict, Normandy Four, Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Abzalov, Donald Trump, Germany, United States, Ukraine, Russia, France
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