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why Kiev seeks to resume negotiations in the Normandy format – RT in Russian

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba hopes that France will restart the Normandy format. According to him, the negotiation process must be resumed amid violations of the ceasefire in Donbass and “Moscow’s unwillingness to act.” According to experts, Kiev is persistently seeking to hold a summit of the Normandy Four in order to present a conflict settlement plan that contradicts Minsk-2. Also, a summit is a way to raise the rating of Vladimir Zelensky, analysts say.

Kiev expects that Paris will be able to restart international negotiations to resolve the situation in Donbass. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba wrote about this in his column for the French newspaper Le Figaro.

The diplomat believes that “France can bring the Norman Quartet out of the impasse.”

“The French President (Emmanuel Macron. – RT) enough leadership and political weight to give a new impetus to the resumption of the peace process, convince the Russian president to sit down at the negotiating table in the Normandy format and finally try to find a way to a just and lasting peace. Now is the right time to revive these efforts, ”says Kuleba.

According to him, Paris, Berlin and Kiev have enough will to end the armed conflict. At the same time, according to Kuleba, Moscow allegedly shows “a clear reluctance to act.” According to the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Russian President Vladimir Putin “continues to adhere to the ‘wait and see’ strategy.

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“He’s just biding his time to find a weak spot and resolve the conflict in the language of ultimatums, not compromises. At the same time, the previous seven years have shown that this strategy is unsuccessful … The situation is still at an impasse, which harms Ukraine and Europe, and does not bring anything good, in fact, to Russia itself, ”says Kuleba.

Meanwhile, as Moscow repeatedly noted, the main reason for the delays in the negotiation process is Kiev’s unwillingness to follow the clauses of the Minsk agreements of February 12, 2015 and to comply with the Steinmeier formula, which determines the mechanism for implementing the Minsk agreements.

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“We would like to emphasize that the crisis in Ukraine can and should be resolved exclusively by peaceful means on the basis of the implementation of the Minsk agreements within the framework of a direct dialogue between representatives of Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk. Attempts to divert attention with politicized propaganda fabrications about some kind of external “aggression” and “occupation” against the background of Kiev’s lack of political will to move forward in the work of the contact group are increasingly postponing the prospects for achieving peace and social harmony in Ukraine, “said the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the OSCE in mid-March Alexander Lukashevich at the organization’s online meeting.

“Constructive direction”

According to experts, Kuleba’s column with a call to revive the negotiation process is dictated by Kiev’s expectation that Paris will be able to influence the position of the Russian authorities, which do not yet see the point of holding a summit in the Normandy format.

As HSE professor Oleg Matveychev noted in a conversation with RT, Kiev is actively exploiting the alarming security situation in Donbass as an actual pretext for resuming the work of this format. In 2021, a comprehensive ceasefire, which formally has been in effect since July 27 of last year, is on the verge of collapse.

  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba

  • Reuters

  • © Valentyn Ogirenko

In particular, in a column in Le Figaro, Kuleba said that four Ukrainian servicemen were killed in the last five months of 2020. At the same time, only in January-February of this year, 14 soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine became victims of clashes on the line of contact.

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People’s republics believe that often Ukrainian servicemen become victims of their own negligence. So, on March 26, four soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were killed in the area of ​​the village of Shuma. According to Kiev, they came under enemy mortar fire, however, according to Donetsk, the tragic incident occurred in the course of work to clarify the maps of minefields.

The DPR authorities also record an escalation of violence on the line of contact. According to the intelligence of the local people’s militia, Kiev is pulling heavy equipment into the region – multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), tanks and large-caliber howitzer artillery. At the same time, as they say in Donetsk, Kiev is trying to shift the responsibility for the aggravating situation onto Moscow.

“The thing is that all these years Kiev has been waiting for some kind of“ green light ”and is trying to“ force Russia to end the conflict ”. That is, instead of simply taking and fulfilling its obligations under the document approved by the UN Security Council, the Ukrainian side is looking for someone to shift the responsibility for sabotaging these very obligations, ”the DPR plenipotentiary envoy told the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on March 25 Natalia Nikonorova.

Analysts, in turn, doubt that Paris, even if it succumbs to Kiev’s persuasions, will be able to influence Moscow’s position.

“Perhaps Kiev drew attention to the fact that France, along with other Western states, recently unambiguously stated that it considers Russia a party to the conflict in Donbass and makes it responsible for non-compliance with the Minsk agreements. Moscow could not fail to notice this, and therefore they are unlikely to react with enthusiasm to the possible proposal of Macron to organize a new meeting, “said Denis Denisov, director of the Institute for Peacekeeping Initiatives and Conflictology, in an interview with RT.

Recall that the previous Normandy format summit was held in December 2019. However, these negotiations did not bring breakthrough results. Nevertheless, the parties fixed a consensus on the lack of alternatives to Minsk-2 and the need to integrate the Steinmeier formula into Ukrainian legislation.

However, Kiev has not fulfilled its obligations and continues to insist on the revision of the Minsk agreements. From the point of view of the Ukrainian leadership, the “constructive direction” in the settlement of the conflict is “the disarmament of illegal armed formations, the restoration of Ukraine’s control over the border and, in the end, the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.” All these requirements Kuleba listed in a column on the pages of Le Figaro.

  • French President Emmanuel Macron

  • Reuters

  • © Benoit Tessier

According to Denis Denisov, Kiev hopes to advance this agenda at the new Normandy Four summit. But the prospect of holding a meeting of the heads of state and even the foreign ministers of the Russian Federation, Germany, France and Ukraine in the near future is unlikely to the expert.

“Vladimir Zelensky, of course, would benefit from holding such a summit at the present moment or in the near future. It is important for him to demonstrate to the internal audience that he participates in negotiations at the highest level, with authoritative heads of state, which, of course, are the leaders of Russia, France and Germany, ”Denisov said.

In turn, Matveychev sees in Kiev’s obsessive desire to hold a meeting in the Normandy format Zelensky’s desire to slow down the decline in his ratings.

“Zelensky is not ready to fulfill the current political part of the Minsk agreements, but he is clearly not in a position to reshape it. The summit is unlikely to change anything, but it could support its rating. Although for this, in an amicable way, Kiev needs to establish relations not with Paris, but to look for points of contact with Moscow, “Matveychev explained.

“Talk as equals”

Another area of ​​Kiev diplomacy is the change in the composition of the participants in the Minsk process. In particular, the Ukrainian authorities consider it necessary to involve the United States in the negotiations.

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In mid-March, in an interview with the Ukraine 24 TV channel, this idea was formulated by the head of the Ukrainian delegation to the TCG Leonid Kravchuk. He stated that the possible participation of the United States would allow unblocking the dialogue on a peaceful settlement, since Moscow allegedly “fears” Washington.

“It is necessary to decide at the level of the President of the United States of America, whether it will be the Vice President or the Secretary of State, but someone must be officially present. Because Russia has such a character – it never listens to those whom it is not afraid of, let’s speak frankly, ”said Kravchuk.

However, political analysts interviewed by RT are confident that the hypothetical involvement of Washington could further complicate the negotiation process. According to Denisov, Kiev will not ensure that the rest of the Normandy Four members agree to the participation of the United States.

This point of view is shared by Matveychev. According to him, an increase in the number of participants in the negotiations on Donbass automatically means a reduction in the chances of any results. However, according to the expert, Zelensky does not really need progress in the peace process, but negotiations in any possible format with the participation of Russia.

“Zelensky is now in such a position that it is extremely important for him to demonstrate that he is a serious politician, that he is able to speak on equal terms with Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron, other leaders, and solve some problems. But for Donbass, little will change from this. Moscow understands this very well and does not want to provide PR services to Zelensky. In my opinion, this is an absolutely adequate position: there is no progress in Minsk-2 – there is no subject for negotiations in the Normandy Four, “Matveychev summed up.

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