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Putin heads to Paris for Normandy Four summit on Ukraine crisis

October 02, 2015, 8:42 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Putin is scheduled to hold separate talks with French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel
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© ITAR-TASS/Alexey Druzhinin

MOSCOW, October 2. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will arrive in Paris on Friday to attend the summit of the Normandy Four countries, namely Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany.

This will be the third such face-to-face meeting of the four leaders since the so-called Normandy format of negotiations on the conflict in Ukraine was introduced in June 2014.

Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said besides the talks, the leaders will also attend a working lunch. Putin is scheduled to hold separate talks with French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Kremlin expects the meeting to give an impetus to the effort on implementing the Minsk peace agreements on Ukraine reached in the Belarusian capital in mid-February. "We seek the implementation in all the directions, all the points of the Minsk agreements should be fulfilled," Ushakov told reporters last month.

Speaking on whether the Minsk agreements could be extended, Ushakov said: "In principle, they could be [extended]." Moscow calls for focusing on the implementation of the Minsk peace deal within the deadline set for the end of 2015.

"Along with the agreements that give grounds for definite optimism, we’re still stating a certain stalemate in the implementation of the Minsk accords," Peskov said on Thursday. "There’s a hope that we’ll manage somehow to assure proper action under the Minsk accords, which don’t allow of misinterpretations or dual reading."

In his speech at the UN General Assembly on September 28, Putin said: "We are confident that the only through full and faithful implementation of the Minsk agreements of February 12, 2015 can we put an end to the bloodshed and find a way out of the deadlock. Ukraine’s territorial integrity cannot be ensured by threats and force of arms."

On Tuesday, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Russia and Ukraine announced that Kiev and Donbas reached an agreement on withdrawing weaponry of less than 100mm caliber to a distance of 15 kilometers from the contact line.

Peskov said the Kremlin considers the agreement on weaponry withdrawal in Ukraine "the reason for moderate optimism" but calls for implementing the Minsk agreements in full. "This is positive news, especially ahead of the [summit] in the ‘Normandy format’ on October 2," the Kremlin spokesman said.

"However, the best breakthrough would have been the fulfillment and full implementation of the Minsk agreements that are outlined unequivocally and do not allow for any interpretations," Peskov said.

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