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Normandy format’s future up in the air - Ukrainian presidential spokesman

The Normandy format was set up in June 2014

KIEV, November 7. /TASS/. Further efforts on the Donbass conflict settlement in the Normandy format, involving Russia, Germany, France, and Ukraine, are problematic because the side are failing to agree another summit, Ukrainian presidential press secretary Sergei Nikoforov said on Sunday.

"The very Normandy format, its future is up in the air. The sides have been failing to agree another summit in the Normandy format. Even the [foreign] ministers have not been meeting," he told the Dom television channel.

The Normandy format was set up in June 2014. Five summit meetings have been held ever since. The latest summit took place in Paris on December 9, 2019.

The Package of Measures on the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, also known as Minsk-2, a peace settlement plan, was signed in Minsk in February 2015 after the marathon talks between the Normandy Four leaders. The 13-point document envisages a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and the people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk and the subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of contact. The deal also lays out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including amnesty, prisoner swaps, resumption of economic ties, local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.

The plan has remained unimplemented to this day, largely due to Ukraine’s stance. Kiev keeps on refusing to act on the political items of the agreement. There is no progress on the Paris summit agreements either. Thus, Kiev has been refusing to implement the so-called Steinmeier formula as a mechanism of political settlement of the conflict. No amendments on Donbass’ special status have been introduced to the Ukrainian constitution. A law on amnesty has not been adopted either. Instead, Kiev is insisting on taking control over the Donbass border section with Russia before implementing the political section of the agreements, in violation of the sequence of steps envisaged by these agreements.

On October 31, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow had referred to the partners its proposals on the agenda for a Normandy-format meeting and was waiting for their response.