GENEVA, October 10. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s intention to use the Normandy Four platform to discuss the situation around Crimea is far from reality, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko told TASS on Thursday.
"The Normandy Four platform was created to resolve the conflict in southeastern Ukraine. It is not supposed to tackle other issues. The Ukrainian president’s intentions run counter to the reality that has formed in the five years since the establishment of the Normandy Quartet," he said.
"We will discuss Crimea neither within the Normandy Four group nor on any other platform. The issue is closed once and for all," the deputy foreign minister emphasized.
Zelensky told his press marathon on Thursday that he intended to raise the Crimea issue at a Normandy Four meeting as he saw no other appropriate platform for discussions. The Ukrainian president stated earlier that Kiev planned to regain Crimea with the assistance of its foreign partners, but there was nothing similar to the Steinmeier Formula for Donbass as far as Crimea was concerned. Zelensky characterized the Crimea issue as complicated.
The Normandy Quartet was established in 2014 to hold negotiations on the Ukrainian crisis. During the celebrations of the 70th D-Day anniversary in Normandy, the leaders of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine for the first time discussed ways of settling the Ukrainian conflict. Since then, there have been a number of telephone conversations and meetings involving the four countries’ leaders and foreign ministers.
After Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in a coup in February 2014, mass protests erupted in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. On March 11, 2014, Crimea’s Supreme Council and Sevastopol City Council adopted a declaration of independence.
On March 16, 2014, Crimean authorities held a referendum on reuniting with Russia. Over 80% of voters participated in the plebiscite, most of them supporting the idea (96.7% in Crimea and 95.6% in the city of Sevastopol).
On March 18, President Vladimir Putin signed the treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia and the Federal Assembly (parliament) approved the document on March 21. However, Kiev has so far refused to acknowledge Crimea as part of Russia.