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Russia not shrinking from Normandy format, Kiev fails to fulfill agreements — top diplomat

Sergey Lavrov recalled that Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to organize the Normandy format meeting at least at the ministerial level but also noted that the agreement reached in December 2019 in Paris should be fulfilled

MOSCOW, November 1. / TASS /. Russia does not shrink from the Normandy format meetings, it was Kiev that "has not lifted a finger" in order to fulfill the agreements reached at the 2019 summit in Paris, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Russia-24 TV channel on Monday.

"Now they are trying to ‘get us’, referring to the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to organize the Normandy format meeting at least at the ministerial level. However, when saying this, the president noted that, first of all, they needed to fulfill the agreement reached in December 2019 in Paris," the top diplomat pointed out. "Everything has to be done by the Kiev authorities. But they have not lifted a finger <…> in order to determine the status of Donbass and enshrine it in Ukraine’s legislation as well as to provide security," the Russian foreign minister said.

The top diplomat noted that his German and French colleagues were always proposing to maintain "constructive ambiguity" about those responsible for fulfilling the Minsk accords. "Two days after the phone conversation between the Russian President, the German Chancellor and the French President, when Putin slammed such legislative practice, including [Ukraine's] draft law on a transitional period, as unacceptable, the EU-Ukraine summit took place. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Council Charles Michel and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky signed a statement, a large part of which was dedicated to glorification of the Donbass crisis," Lavrov explained. "Ukraine has been told that Russia bears a special responsibility in this crisis since it is a party to the conflict."

According to Lavrov, Russia immediately asked Berlin and Paris to clarify this matter. "What is the outcome [of the talks] - constructive ambiguity or this? We were told that this should not be surprising for us; from the very beginning of the 2014 crisis, they assumed that we were also responsible for this. Then why did they sign the Minsk agreements?" Lavrov said.

While recalling the Paris summit in 2019, the Russian top diplomat pointed out that there was a lack of desire to "to take truly drastic steps that would significantly mitigate the risks of military clashes".