Normandy Summit: Results and Assessments

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Normandy Summit: Results and Assessments

Russian experts discuss the results of the Paris meeting in the Normandy format

The likelihood of a new “gas war” between Moscow and Kiev exists, Prime Minister of Ukraine Oleksiy Honcharuk said on his Facebook page, summing up the results of the Normandy format talks that ended in Paris the day before. He also noted that the country is fully prepared for such a turn of events, since the storage facilities are full and there is support from the European Union..

According to the prime minister, no specific agreements were reached in Paris on the transit of Russian gas through the territory, but this was not expected. It is another matter that no one really expected high results from the summit from the very beginning. The very meeting of the leaders of the four states was already presented as some kind of achievement, since they had not met in such a composition for more than three years..

Nevertheless, according to the final communiqué, the parties agreed to ensure by the end of this year a ceasefire in southeastern Ukraine and facilitate the exchange on the principle of “all for all”. In addition, it is planned to separate the opposing forces in the Donbass from the line of contact in three more areas by March 2020..

The next meeting in the same format is scheduled to take place in four months. Apparently, then at least some of the remaining painful problems will have to be settled. The basis for the continuation of the work remains the Minsk agreements based on the implementation of the “Steinmeier formula”.

One of the main unresolved issues remains control on the Russian-Ukrainian border in the area, which is held by the separatists with the support and direct participation of the Russian military..

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy told a press conference in Paris that he “insisted on the need to restore Ukraine’s full control over the state border.” Russian leader Vladimir Putin, referring to the Minsk agreements, argued that first elections should be held on the territory of the so-called DPR and LPR..

On Tuesday, Vladimir Putin, at a meeting of the Presidential Human Rights Council, continued his controversy in absentia with his Ukrainian counterpart, saying that the absence of an amnesty law for residents of the unrecognized republics was also an obstacle to Kiev’s establishment of control on the border with the Russian Federation. It seems to Putin that this is fraught with mass extermination of people, as in Srebrenica, where the massacre of Bosnian Muslims by Serb nationalists took place in 1995.

Head of the Center for Ukrainian Studies, Institute of Europe Victor Mironenko in a commentary for the Russian service of the Voice of America, he was skeptical about the outcome of the Paris meeting, as well as the further prospects for the talks. In his opinion, the summit put everything in its place.

“It becomes clear who wants to stop the conflict and who does not want to change anything,” he added. “It is also becoming apparent that external factors in the emergence of this conflict were significantly more important than internal factors. Of course, there are elements of civil confrontation there, but this is still not a civil war, but a war between two countries. “.

Ukraine has no one else to rely on, except for itself, Viktor Mironenko stated. In his opinion, Russia, by its policy, itself pushed Ukraine towards accelerated integration into the EU and itself is pushing it into NATO..

Professor of the Moscow Economic Institute, Doctor of Philosophy Igor Chubais in a commentary to the Russian service of the Voice of America, he also stressed that no decisions on key issues had been reached in Paris. First of all, as he sees it, this is the question of the border and control over it..

“For me, Putin’s reasoning with references to the final protocol of the Minsk agreements looks extremely unconvincing,” he says. – The document is not a dogma. All this makes one think that Moscow has a completely different goal here, which is not voiced, but implied. “.

Then any negotiations on this topic generally lose all meaning, the professor summed up. From his point of view, the return of Russia to the “Normandy format” became possible only because of the desire to weaken the sanctions pressure of the collective West..

At the Director of the Institute for Humanitarian and Political Studies Vyacheslav Igrunov a different point of view. He agrees that the main significance of the summit is that the three-year pause in relations between Moscow and Kiev has ended and direct dialogue has resumed. As it seems to him, this is a step “in a reasonable direction”.

“Zelenskiy demonstrates a desire to achieve peace, and negotiations give him such a chance. Of course, there is very serious resistance to the Minsk process in Ukraine. But the negotiations predetermine the movement in the right direction, ”the political scientist believes..

At the same time, Vyacheslav Igrunov thinks that the main problem now is not the border, but a special status for the DPR and LPR, on which both Moscow and the separatists insist, and which Kiev is categorically opposed..

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Results of the meeting of the “Normandy quartet” in Paris

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  • Victor Vladimirov

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