MOSCOW, December 22. /TASS/. Kiev refused to confirm in the communique at the Paris summit of the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, Ukraine and France) the goal of disengaging forces along the entire contact line, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the Bolshaya Igra (Big Game) program on Russia’s television Channel One.
"In Paris it was stated that the Normandy leaders appeal to the Contact Group to coordinate the disengagement of troops and hardware along the entire contact line," Lavrov noted. "This phrase had been put on paper a month ago."
However, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky stated that he could not support this idea, calling this a very remote goal. "The disengagement, which has taken place in three settlements - Stanitsa Luganskaya, Petrovskoye and Zolotoye - took him more than five months, that’s why given this speed the disengagement process would take seven or even ten years," Lavrov said.
At the summit, Putin suggested the goal of carrying out disengagement along the entire contact line, but Zelensky rejected the plan. "This is a serious sign that even on the key issue of his election campaign when President Zelensky said that he wanted to end the war and to stop deaths there, obviously his arms are tied even on this issue."
According to Lavrov, Zelensky "either has some commitment to those who are not seeking an end to the conflict or he understands that he might face problems at home."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron were unable to encourage Zelensky to confirm the task of disengaging forces and hardware along the entire contact line, he noted.
The Normandy Four summit, which took place in Paris on December 9 for the first time after a three-year break, brought together 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. The leaders agreed to continue their talks in four months. However, at a meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk on December 18 the sides failed to agree on particular measures on fulfilling the agreements reached at the summit.