What the leaders of the “Norman Four” talked about face to face

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky met with Russian President Vladimir Putin face to face. This finally happened after long discussions and disputes regarding the importance of such a meeting, especially in light of the many events that preceded the direct contact of the leaders of the two countries.

The dialogue between the presidents and its results determine the events of the upcoming periods of Russian-Ukrainian relations, which can put an end to the five-year conflict in the east of Ukraine between the country’s army and the separatists supported by Moscow.

The meeting of the “Norman Four”, held on Monday in Paris, was also attended by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. After lengthy negotiations behind closed doors, which from time to time were interrupted by bilateral contacts between Putin and Zelensky, representatives of the four states came out to reporters late at night to announce the results. The leaders agreed on the following:

– exchange prisoners by the end of this year;

– completely cease fire in eastern Ukraine under the constant supervision of the OSCE mission;

– identify three new points for the process of separation of Ukrainian forces and armed separatists in the east of the country until the end of March 2020;

– the mandatory introduction by the Ukrainian side of the “Steinmeier formula” proposed by the former German Foreign Minister in their national legislation, as well as to amend the constitution of Ukraine, which would provide for special status in the eastern regions of Ukraine controlled by the separatists;

– Hold the next meeting of the “Norman Four” in four months.

Who benefits from this?

The above points are not new, they were known about them even before the summit in Paris, these conditions were repeatedly spoken out by officials of Ukraine and Russia. Therefore, it is not clear why the negotiations lasted so long and ended late in the evening.

Anyone who looks carefully will see that these results are more important for Ukrainians than for representatives of other countries. After all, it is Kiev that calls for stopping the bloodshed in the Donbass and exchanging prisoners, while Russia, which controls these territories with the help of separatists loyal to it, is in no hurry to make loud statements and decisive steps.

Conflict freeze

Even if it comes to freezing the conflict in eastern Ukraine, then, according to observers, it is in Russia’s interests.

According to the American journalist Tom Bell, who spoke on the Ukrainian channel UATV, Russia has no choice but to freeze its war in the Donbass, because in order to stay there or move even further deep into the territory of Ukraine, it will have to increase its contingent and quantity of military equipment .

“In the short term, the temporarily occupied territories will become a heavy financial burden for Moscow, and therefore the Russians will facilitate the return of these territories to the control of the Ukrainian authorities on the conditions specified above (the introduction of the Steinmeier formula in Ukrainian legislation),” Bell added.

Russian goals

Observers believe that Russia has set out to use the “Norman format” to solve other tasks not related to the Ukrainian crisis. Moscow wants to restore warm relations with the main European countries, whose authorities imposed sanctions on Russia, which undoubtedly has been a heavy burden for the country over the past 5 years.

These sanctions have affected both the Russian and European economies, but recently there are signs that European countries are gradually relieving tension in relations with Moscow. First, the Russian representation in the Council of Europe was restored, and then French President Emmanuel Macron said that there was the possibility of lifting the sanction against Russia.

According to the Ukrainian writer and political scientist Alexander Paliy: “We do not forget that it was the Ukrainian crisis before the Syrian crisis that drove Russia out of the G8 membership, spoiled its image and weakened its presence and international influence in Europe and the world. If we compare the results of the summit in Paris with the goals of Russia, we find that she wants to pay a cheap price for expensive goods that she urgently needs. ”

Main problems

It is noteworthy that the “Norman Four” summit did not raise such important topics as Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in March 2014, the disarmament of the separatists supported by Moscow, and the restoration of Kiev’s control over its eastern border with Russia.

It can be assumed that for such a long time while the negotiations were in progress, the leaders could not help addressing the main issues of paramount importance, but everyone understands that Crimea is a red line for Russia, so the discussion of this problem was postponed for four months.

Journalist Tom Bell emphasizes: “Putin’s plan for Ukraine is simple: not to allow the Crimean peninsula to remain at the negotiating table, therefore it is beneficial for him to constantly maintain the tension in the east of Ukraine, dragging out its solution in every possible way, expecting that Kiev will yield more and more “.

Gas file

It is also worth noting that Moscow and Kiev have many unresolved issues, and quite complex ones, they are not limited to Donass. Even more serious

The issue is the transportation of natural gas through the territory of Ukraine, not the crisis in the East, which has recently adopted a sluggish format.

The President of Ukraine said that he insisted during the summit that he would conclude an agreement with Russia for a period of 10 years, but the Russian president was not ready to accept this condition and discuss this issue, while Moscow earlier announced its readiness to conclude an agreement with Ukraine on gas only one year.

Director of the Center for Political Analysis in Kiev, Alexei Garan, stressed that these problems cannot be solved while tensions remain in the east of the country.

None of the parties (Russia, Ukraine, the European Union) will be able to save face, since each adheres to a principled position in their own interests, says the speech of Garan.

He went on to say that the results of the summit were just an introduction to a wider breakthrough on other issues, which we will witness in the coming weeks.

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