Kommersant: Zelensky keeps hyping ‘new’ Donbass summit but nothing’s on the horizon

Mar. 22, 2021

Another Normandy Four (Germany, Russia, Ukraine, France) on Donbass is not planned to be held in the foreseeable future, despite Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s statements to the contrary, Kommersant sources among the Donbass negotiators inform. This issue was not discussed during the recent talks between the Normandy Four political advisors, and it was not even brought up by Ukrainian Presidential Chief of Staff Andrei Yermak.

Since early March, Kiev has suggested that a new Normandy Four summit is in the works. The most recent summit was held in December 2019 in Paris. Putin and Zelensky met face-for-face for the first time during the talks, and have not had contacts since then, not even via phone.

On March 18, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Dmitry Kozak, Advisor to the German Chancellor Jan Hecker, Diplomatic Advisor to the French President Emmanuel Bonne, and Ukrainian Presidential Chief of Staff Andrei Yermak held a video conference call to discuss the Donbass peace process. The parties focused on the permanent ceasefire on the line of contact and the measures, stages and order of steps that should lead to a peaceful regulation of the region, Kommersant sources suggest. The sides failed to come to an agreement.

The full ceasefire is an issue that precedes other steps, including the humanitarian, political and economic ones, required for a total settlement in Donbass. Participants of the March 18 talks failed to make progress in this area as well. The negotiators are trying to approve steps towards peace outlined in the Minsk Agreements, offering their options, sources told the newspaper.

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A negotiator from the Russian side told Kommersant that a new summit can only be discussed after the sides manage to put an end to the attacks in Donbass and after they achieve a common understanding of what should be done next to fully regulate the conflict. None of these conditions have been met so far.

Published at tass.com / Kommersant