MOSCOW, December 13. /TASS/. If Kiev seeks to introduce changes to the Minsk Agreements, other members of the Normandy Four group will need time to review this possibility, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
"I would like everyone to cast their thoughts back to Monday’s summit in Paris, and point out that the parties agreed a document, which can be considered a success," Peskov said.
He emphasized that according to a statement adopted by the summit’s participants, "the Minsk Agreements continue to be the basis of the work of the Normandy format whose member states are committed to their full implementation." "If one of the parties, namely Kiev, has reviewed its position since Monday, then the other three members of the Normandy Four group will need to spend much time and effort analyzing the issue," the Kremlin spokesman added.
When asked under what conditions Russia would agree to hold talks on changing the Minsk Agreements, Peskov pointed to the need to address the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics with that. "It is not a question for the Kremlin, but for the parties to the conflict that should demonstrate their willingness, and the parties to the conflict are Kiev, on the one hand, and the self-proclaimed republics, on the other," the Kremlin spokesman noted.
He added that "the self-proclaimed republics signed the Minsk Package of Measures, so it is pointless to talk about changes without learning the opinion of the self-proclaimed republics."
The presidential press secretary added that in order to resolve the Donbass issue Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky needs to implement the Minsk Agreements rather than shake hands with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Zelensky earlier told the 1+1 TV channel that he was ready to shake hands with Putin a hundred times in order to bring Crimea back and ten times to bring Donbass back.
"As for Crimea, he should refrain from bringing up this issue when shaking hands with Putin," Peskov pointed out. "As far as Donbass is concerned, there is no need to shake hands with Putin, there is a need to implement the Minsk Agreements, and when it happens, everyone will have a chance to shake hands, congratulating the Ukrainian people on resolving their domestic conflict," the Russian presidential spokesman added.
Putin and Zelensky shook hands for the first time in Paris on December 9, as both took part in a Normandy Four summit and also held a bilateral meeting. The Ukrainian president commented later that he sought to end the armed conflict in the country’s southeast and was ready to build dialogue in order to achieve that goal.
Normandy Four summit
The Normandy Four summit, which took place in Paris on December 9, involved French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.
The four leaders reaffirmed their commitment to implementing a comprehensive ceasefire in Donbass before the end of 2019. They also voiced support for a plan to carry out the disengagement of forces in three more areas in Donbass by the end of March 2020 and conduct an all-for-all prisoner exchange before 2019 ends.