The comedian-turned-politician told reporters on Sunday that finding an everlasting solution to the conflict plaguing the Donbass region was his top priority.
Since 2014, the mainly Russian-speaking regions in eastern Ukraine have been the scene of a bloody conflict, which pits Kiev’s military against the pro-Russia forces there.
The armed confrontations began when a wave of protests in Ukraine overthrew a democratically-elected pro-Russia government and replaced it with a pro-West administration. The majority in those areas refused to endorse the new administration.
Kiev and its Western allies accuse Moscow of having a hand in the crisis. Moscow, however, denies the allegations.
“We will continue with the Minsk talks, we will reboot them,” said Zelensky in a reference to a peace process in the Belarusian capital, which led to the signing of two ceasefire agreements in 2014 and 2015 between Kiev and pro-Russians with the mediation of Russia, Germany and France.
He vowed to act “within the Normandy format,” referring to the French-German-Russian-Ukrainian talks on war in Donbass.
The two deals have so far failed to contain the deadly violence, with the two sides constantly trading accusations of truce violations.
Zelensky, whose only previous political role was playing the president in a TV show, trounced incumbent Petro Poroshenko by taking 73.2 percent of the vote, according to nearly complete official results released early Monday. Poroshenko garnered just 24.4 percent.
Failure to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine was seen as the main factor behind Poroshenko’s defeat.
Reacting to Zelensky’s comments, some top Russian officials have expressed cautious hopes that the newcomer on Ukraine’s political stage could help improve the situation in Ukraine and troubled relations with Moscow.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said a Facebook post on Monday that Moscow has a chance of improving ties with Ukraine under the leadership of Zelensky, but that he has “no illusions.”
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also posted a cautiously optimistic message on Facebook.
In addition, Russia’s Chechen Republic leader, Ramzan Kadyrov also congratulated Zelensky on his victory.
“I would like to wish Vladimir Zelensky good luck in the noble quest of Ukraine revival and bringing together Ukrainian and Russian people. If he has such intentions,” Kadyrov said.
Russian Orthodox Church also expressed hopes the Ukrainian state will stop the oppression of the faithful under the new president.
“I cannot speak about the political fallout, since it’s hard to predict. Yet I wholeheartedly hope that the persecution of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church will stop,” spokesman Vladimir Legoida told TASS.