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Ukrainian top diplomat supports US joining Normandy format talks

The foreign minister reiterated that the issue of a possible expansion of the 'Normandy Four’ has been discussed since 2014

KIEV, January 13. /TASS/. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has supported involvement of the US in the Normandy format (Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France) talks on settlement in Donbass. He said this in an interview to Ukrainian news outlet Obozrevatel published on Wednesday.

"Without a doubt, an even more active involvement of the US in the issue of stopping Russian aggression and de-occupying our territories will be very useful and effective. As for the format in which it will be implemented it is the issue of diplomacy," he said in response to a question on the possibility of involving the US and the UK in the Normandy format talks.

At the same time, the Ukrainian top diplomat reiterated that the issue of a possible expansion of the 'Normandy Four’ has been discussed since 2014. "I’ve been hearing about this since 2014. As they say, if there is nothing to talk about, let’s talk about changes to the Normandy format. Yet I propose to resolve issues as they arise," he said, adding that in order to change the Normandy format the approval of all its participants is required.

The so-called Normandy format of talks on Ukraine has existed since June 2014 when leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany who gathered in Normandy for the celebration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day discussed the settlement of the conflict in southeastern Ukraine for the first time. Since then, five more top-level meetings were held. At the third meeting of the leaders on February 11-12, 2015 in Minsk, a Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements was signed, which included, among others, a complete ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement of the conflicting parties. Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande and Pyotr Poroshenko also approved a declaration to support the settlement process. The last meeting of the leaders of the four countries was held in Paris in December 2019.

However, media outlets constantly mention the possibility of expanding the Normandy format by involving other countries in the process of peaceful settlement in southeastern Ukraine, first of all, the US. Earlier, Vladimir Putin stated that Russia in general is not against this. "This is the Russian stance: we are not against involving anybody, including our American partners," he said, adding that so far all participants of talks on Ukraine have agreed to work in the existing format, while simultaneously discussing the issue with the US partners.