MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko’s remark that there is no Minsk format of talks (the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Russia, Ukraine and Donbass republics) on settling the eastern Ukrainian crisis may signal that Kiev backtracks on its international commitments, a negotiator for the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), Rodion Miroshnik, said.
On Friday, Poroshenko stated that "the Minsk format of talks does not exist," and Kiev’s envoy for the talks Leonid Kuchma "is not participating in the Minsk format." According to the Ukrainian president, "only the Normandy format" exists and the Ukrainian side holds talks only with the representatives of Russia and the OSCE as part of the Contact Group in Minsk.
According to Miroshnik, given his statements, the Ukrainian president’s ability to reach accords "arouses serious concerns."
"After Poroshenko’s pledges on his commitments to fulfilling the Minsk agreements and that there is no alternative to them, the statement that the Minsk format does not exist is at least inadequate. Essentially, it may be considered by the international community and first of all the guarantors of the Minsk agreements, namely Germany and France, as Ukraine’s refusal to honor its international commitments," he said.
The LPR negotiator recalled that the Contact Group under the Minsk format, comprising the OSCE, Russia, Ukraine and the self-proclaimed Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics is envisaged by the Package of Measures on implementing the Minsk agreements signed by Kuchma under Poroshenko’s order.
By his statements, Poroshenko impeded holding the foreign ministers’ meeting in the Normandy format in Berlin scheduled for June 11, the LPR negotiator said.
"I think that on June 11 at the meeting of the Normandy format participants in Berlin at the level of foreign ministers, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin will have to give detailed explanations on this statement or Poroshenko’s condition in which such a statement was made that absolutely runs counter to the line towards settling the conflict in Donbass officially backed by the West," he said.
The Normandy format negotiations for the settlement of the Donbass crisis have been underway since June 2014 when the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany who gathered in Normandy for the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of D-Day (the landing of allied troops on the beaches of Normandy in 1944) discussed the settlement of the conflict in southeast Ukraine for the first time. Several Normandy Four meetings have taken place at the summit and ministerial levels since then. Last time the foreign ministers of the four countries met in this format in February 2017 in Munich.
The Contact Group for settling the crisis in eastern Ukraine is a group in the format of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE with the participation of the Donbass republics. The first meeting of the Contact Group participants was held in the Belarusian capital of Minsk on September 5, 2014. At the talks the sides agreed on a plan of peaceful settlement in Donbass and achieving a ceasefire.
On February 12, 2015 the Contact Group and also the heads of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics signed the Minsk agreements, which had been approved by the Normandy Four leaders.
The Minsk accords envisaged ceasefire and also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions. The Ukrainian forces and militias of the self-proclaimed republics have repeatedly accused each other of violating ceasefire and other points of the Minsk agreements.