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Date of Putin-Trump possible meeting not discussed, Kremlin aide says

Normandy Four summit is possible before the end of 2019, according to the presidential aide

MOSCOW, November 11. /TASS/. The date of holding the next meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump is not yet discussed, but it is likely to take place on May 9, 2020 if the US leader comes to Moscow, Kremlin Aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters on Monday.

"Now this issue is not being discussed in practical terms," Ushakov said answering a question on the date of a Putin-Trump possible meeting.

Ushakov recalled that the US side was considering an invitation for Trump to attend Victory Day celebrations in Moscow on May 9, 2020.

"We have not yet received confirmation from the US side, but we believe there is such a possibility and as Trump said, a lot depends on how the domestic political situation in the US unfolds given that the election campaign [in the US] will be gaining steam. Whether he could come depends on the wish of the [US] administration, on the readiness to devote two days to a flight to Moscow and participate in the event," Ushakov noted.

The Kremlin aide noted that earlier the sides had considered an option of holding a meeting between the Russian and US presidents in November at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Chile, but later this forum was canceled.

Last time, Putin and Trump met on June 28 at the G20 summit in Japan’s Osaka. The Russian leader invited his US counterpart to attend the events marking the 75th anniversary of Victory over Nazi Germany.

Normandy Four summit

A Normandy Four (Russia, France, Germany, Ukraine) can be organized before the end of this year, however, no specific date has been discussed yet, the Russian presidential aide informed. 

"I think that such a possibility is there," he answered a question on whether such a meeting can be held this year. Ushakov underlined that certain shifts regarding the ‘Steinmeier formula’ signing and disengagement of forces can be observed, while "a draft final document has been in essence agreed."

At the same time, the Kremlin representative denied reports that such a meeting can be held on either November 24 or 26. "I can only say that November 24 and 26 were not mentioned as possible dates for the summit. There weren’t any specifics discussed regarding a date," he underlined.

According to him, there are "no obstacles" to holding a new meeting of the Normandy Four leaders. "There is just a desire to hold the summit in a way that will bring about positive result to not deal with changing certain documents that have been agreed earlier and move forward," Ushakov explained, pointing out that "at least first steps" should be taken to implement previous agreements. The Russian presidential aide concluded that preconditions should be laid to successfully hold the summit, which would serve as a signal to move ahead on the path of settlements. Ushakov added that the preparations underway are serious and substantial and negotiations are active between the leaders on the phone and their aides.

The Normandy Four format of negotiations on Ukraine has existed 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 in 1944) discussed the settlement of the conflict in southeastern Ukraine for the first time. Several Normandy Four top-level and ministerial meetings have been held since then. The last Normandy Four summit took place in Berlin on October 2016.