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Arranging Normandy Four summit in foreseeable future seems problematic — source

According to the Russian source, European partners and Ukraine only seek "to hold a Normandy Four summit, no matter what is discussed there and what agreements are reached"

MOSCOW, September 20. /TASS/. Arranging a Normandy Four summit in the foreseeable future seems problematic, a source in the Russian delegation told TASS in the wake of the September 17 video conference meeting, which involved the political advisers and foreign ministry officials of the Normandy Four countries (Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine).

"Our European colleagues suggested simply making a list of questions for the leaders, without any solutions, to which the heads of states and governments would need to answer. In fact, the representatives of Berlin, Paris and Kiev were ready to concede complete incompetence only to make sure that the long-awaited summit takes place as soon as possible. Clearly, such a summit will add no value to the pitiable results of the Normandy Four group's work of the past seven years - which is what Angela Merkel said earlier - and holding it in the foreseeable future seems problematic," the source pointed out.

Given that Ukraine is reluctant to implement the decisions that were made at the previous summit in Paris, Russia suggested that those who called for a new meeting draw up a draft final document. The French-German version of the document was the focus of the recent video conference. According to the Russian source, European partners and Ukraine only seek "to hold a Normandy Four summit, no matter what is discussed there and what agreements are reached." At the same time, "finding a real solution to the Donbass conflict is not on the political agenda neither in Germany and France nor even in Ukraine."

According to the source, at first, all participants, including Ukraine, agreed that the Minsk Agreements were the only basis for resolving the conflict. However, when Deputy Chief of Staff of the Russian Presidential Executive Office Dmitry Kozak suggested that France and Germany clarify their view of the parties to the conflict in the document, representatives of Berlin and Paris, as well as Head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office Andrei Yermak, said that the conflict was an international one as it was between Russia and Ukraine, adding, however, that the negotiators should keep the information inside the group without documenting it. "Agreements are pointless if it's unknown who has to implement them," the source noted.

The Normandy Four group was established in June 2014, when the leaders of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine for the first time discussed ways to resolve the Donbass conflict during the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day allied landings in the French region of Normandy. Five summits have been held since then, with the last one taking place in Paris on December 9, 2019. Urgent measures agreed by the parties at the summit particularly included a comprehensive ceasefire, the disengagement of troops and an all-for-all prisoner swap. One of the provisions in the four leaders' statement concerned the political aspect of efforts to resolve the conflict. Most of these decisions have not been implemented yet. Kozak said in mid-July that preparations for a new Normandy Four summit made no sense as long as there was no progress on previous agreements.