MOSCOW, April 29./TASS/. The recent statements by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky about the need to change the Normandy format indicate that Kiev is refusing to comply with the Minsk agreements, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday.
"The fundamental difference is that these statements were for the first time made at the level of the nation’s president. It is difficult to interpret them otherwise than a confirmation that rejecting the Minsk agreements is no longer the personal opinion of certain senior officials in Ukraine," Zakharova stressed.
"In this case, we are talking about Ukraine’s official position. Of course, this is greatly disturbing. <...> If such an approach dominates the process of negotiations, which is already blocked by Kiev’s obstinate sabotage of the Minsk agreements the way they were formalized, then we can hardly expect any progress whatsoever in settling the conflict in Donbass," she added.
There is no alternative to the Minsk agreements no matter what ploys Kiev would devise, Maria Zakharova told the briefing. "There is simply no alternative, no matter what ploys Kiev would devise," Zakharova said. "We have heard so much from our Western partners that there is no alternative to the Minsk agreements, that we wouldn’t want them to accidentally forget about their stance that they have been voicing for several years," she added.
Russia is confident that there is still a chance to get out of the current alarming situation surrounding Donbass, she stressed.
Zelensky said in an interview with The Financial Times, published on Monday, that he believed it was necessary to make amendments to the Minsk Accords and increase the list of participants in negotiations on the Normandy platform (Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France) by involving the United States, Great Britain and Canada. The authorities in Kiev earlier said more than once they had no intention of conducting a dialogue with the Donetsk and Lugansk republics and wished to discuss the Donbass conflict only with Russia. For his part, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Zelensky should discuss conflict settlement with the leaders of the Lugansk and Donetsk republics in the first place. Any discussions with a third party would be possible only afterwards.