Zelensky
© Vladimir Zelensky Petr Sivkov/TASS
Ukrainian presidential candidate Vladimir Zelensky
Ukraine's presidential contender Vladimir Zelensky will try to reach a ceasefire in Donbass as soon as possible in case of being elected, he said in an interview with the Ukraine TV channel on Sunday. "Ceasefire in the east, for a start. We cannot afford a long process as every morning starts (with reports about) casualties in the east," he said.

Zelensky has also suggested that more active efforts should be made to deal with citizens of the Donbass regions uncontrolled by Kiev - self-proclaimed republics - on social issues, particularly, stressing the need to pay pension benefits. "We have to reach out to each person living in the east, to resume relations, launch, start paying pension benefits to people," he said.

Asked whether he is ready for direct contacts with Russia's leadership, Zelensky answered in the affirmative.

Ukraine's presidential contender considers it necessary to continue the work within the framework of the Minsk agreements for settlement of the Donbass conflict.

"What can we do? Continue the Minsk agreements, the Minsk process. Though all agree that it is right to reform the Minsk format," the politician said.

Particularly, he stressed the need to "speak with Russia." "The talks are required, the format of a conversation with Russia in a diplomatic form in the presence of western representatives," he said.

Earlier on Sunday Ukraine's Central Election Commission announced the official results of the first round of the presidential election in the country. The candidate from the Servant of the People party Vladimir Zelensky received 30.24% of votes, while incumbent Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko came in second with 15.95%. The second round of the vote has been set for April 21.