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Changes to Minsk deal possible only if Kiev holds talks with Lugansk and Donetsk - Kremlin

According to Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Ukrainian President apparently want to settle the Donbass problem but it takes "will power, political authority and dominance on Ukraine’s political arena"
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov Mikhail Metstsel/TASS
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Mikhail Metstsel/TASS

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, December 15. /TASS/. It’s possible to change the Minsk agreements only if Kiev jointly works with experts from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with the Bolshaya Igra (Big Game) TV program on Russia’s Channel One.

"This is possible. Who can work on Minsk-3? Both sides. That’s why if experts from Kiev sit in the Contact Group or outside it with experts from the DPR and LPR, then they will be apparently able to work on some changes or amendments to the Minsk Package of Measures," Peskov said, commenting on a statement by Ukraine’s envoy to the Contact Group Alexei Reznikov that Ukraine would prepare changes to the Minsk deal by the next Normandy Four summit.

According to Peskov, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky apparently want to settle the Donbass problem but it takes "will power, political authority and dominance on Ukraine’s political arena."

"It is rather yes, the answer is yes. Zelensky is not an advocate of the party of war. [Former Ukrainian President Pyotr] Poroshenko was a personification of the party of war. He was the one to unleash it," the Kremlin spokesman said when asked if the Putin-Zelensky talks at the Normandy Four summit could diminish the chances for another round of armed confrontation in Donbass.

Paris summit results

A Normandy Four summit crisis was held in Paris on Monday, for the first time after a three-year break. Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Emmanuel Macron of Germany, Vladimir Zelensky of Ukraine and German Chancellor Angela Merkel gathered in the Elysee Palace to discuss ways of settling the conflict in Donbass.

The first personal meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian leaders, Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Zelensky, took place during the summit. Before that, they had only telephone conversations. Speaking at a news conference after the summit, the French president hailed this fact as one of the positive results of the summit.

The seven-hours talks yielded a final document committing to paper a number of concrete accords. Among the summit’s expected results was an agreement to exchange prisoners-of-war in Donbass under the formula of "all identified for all identified" by the yearend.

The summit’s participants also called for a complete and all-embracing ceasefire before the end of 2019 and agreed to support an accord within the framework of the Contact Group on the political settlement in eastern Ukraine on three additional sections of disengaging forces and weapons in the conflict area by the end of March 2020.

And last but not least, the leaders agreed to continue the top-level discussion in the Normandy format in a span of four months and to use this time to make further steps towards political settlement of the conflict in Donbass.