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Kremlin satisfied with Normandy Four meeting in Berlin

October 20, 2016, 15:07 UTC+3

Vladimir Putin has agreed to idea of deploying armed OSCE mission in Donbass, the Kremlin announced

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© Mikhail Klimentyev/Pool Photo via AP

MOSCOW, October 20. /TASS/. The Normandy Quartet has much to do to bring the countries closer together over the Ukrainian crisis, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

"It is too early to speak about further work, the options need to be agreed on," the Russian presidential spokesman noted. According to him, "a great number of details, many questions seem to have been agreed on, but in fact the positions are quite different, sometimes the differences are fundamental." "That is why the work to bring the countries closer together should be continued," Peskov stressed.

He also said that "all the participants of the yesterday’s meeting thanked the German chancellor for initiating the new Normandy Quartet summit." "The parties synchronized their watches and mapped out further work at the foreign ministers level and the level of presidential aides supervising the matters of Ukraine settlement," Peskov said summing up the five-hour talks in Berlin.

The Kremlin spokesman also said that "it has been decided to hold a new meeting within a month and continue the detailed discussion."

The Kremlin is satisfied with the Normandy Four meeting in Berlin, but much work lies ahead, Peskov said.

"In general, positively," Peskov said. He recalled, "We have never had any inflated expectations, we warned against inflated expectations. We said that another confirmation of the commitment to the fact that there is no alternative to the Minsk agreements is a positive development in the current situation, which deserves a positive assessment." After the talks of the Russian, German, French and Ukrainian leaders, all of them pointed to the need to comply with the Minsk accords.

Peskov noted that after the previous Normandy Four meeting in Paris in October 2015 "we could not boast that it was an effective year, even though the work at the expert level never stopped during the year." He added that "the implementation of the Minsk agreements stalled throughout the year."

"Throughout the year, Russia expressed regret in this regard stressing every time that we expect the party, which should fulfill these obligations, namely, the Ukrainian side, to take appropriate steps," the Kremlin spokesman said.

"In general, of course, the mere fact that the work in the Normandy format continues, the mere fact that the parties continue to synchronize watches at the highest level deserves a positive assessment," Peskov said, adding that no Normandy Four summit expected for another month. 

There is a meeting of the foreign ministers and presidential aides on the agenda for the next month. It will help outline the further schedule," he noted when asked when the next summit could take place.

Peskov emphasized that high-level meetings were initiated "only if they are really necessary."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated at a press conference after the Normandy Quartet summit, that the leaders of Germany, Russia, France and Ukraine saw the need for regular meetings.

OSCE armed mission in Donbass

Russian President Vladimir Putin has supported the idea of deploying an OSCE armed mission in Donbass, the Kremlin spokesman said.

"Indeed, Putin agreed to the deployment of this mission during the [Normandy Four] talks," Peskov told reporters.

He said the Russian leader had called for using Germany’s current OSCE chairmanship "to boost the work on this issue."

Exchange of prisoners in Donbass

Putin categorically dismisses Poroshenko's proposal for including persons kept in Russia into the list of POW exchange in Donbass, Peskov added. 

He recalled that the exchange of prisoners was one of the clauses of the Minsk Accords.

"In this context the Ukrainian president said that there were some detainees in Russia, but this statement drew strong objection from the Russian president," Peskov said. He described Kiev’s approach as unacceptable and out of place.

"Of course, the point at issue (regarding the exchange of prisoners) is the release of persons kept in Ukrainian territory and in Donbass," Peskov said.

Withdrawal of forces

According to peskov, the issue of withdrawal of forces from Debaltsevo in the area of the conflict in Donbass remains uncoordinated.

"Regarding Debaltsevo, here it’s the situation when earlier reached agreements are interpreted in an absolutely different way," Peskov said.

He said "the Russian side absolutely disagrees" with proposals on the issue voiced by its interlocutors.

"The issue remains uncoordinated, the work on the issue will be continued at the level of [foreign] ministers and aides," Peskov said.

On Wednesday night Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko met in Berlin to discuss the settlement in eastern Ukraine. No documents were signed at the meeting. Nevertheless, an agreement was reached on developing a roadmap for the implementation of the Minsk agreements. This document is expected to be drafted and approved until the end of November.

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