Norman Summit: Results and Assessments


Russian experts discuss the results of the Paris meeting in the “Norman format”

There is a likelihood of a new “gas war” between Moscow and Kiev, Prime Minister of Ukraine Aleksey Goncharuk said on his Facebook page, summing up the negotiations that ended on the eve of Paris in the “Norman format”. He also noted that the country is fully prepared for such a turn of events, since the storage facilities are full and there is support from the European Union.

According to the prime minister, no concrete agreements were reached in Paris on the transit of Russian gas through the territory, but this was not expected. Another thing is that from the summit and initially no one particularly expected high performance. The meeting of the leaders of the four states itself was already presented as a kind of achievement, since they did not gather in such a composition for more than three years.

Nevertheless, according to the final communiqué, the parties agreed to ensure a ceasefire in the south-east of Ukraine by the end of this year and to facilitate an exchange on the principle of “all for all.” In addition, it is planned that before March 2020, the opposing forces in the Donbass will be separated from the contact line in three more areas.

The next meeting in the same format is planned to be held in four months. Apparently, then at least part of the remaining painful problems will have to be resolved. The Minsk agreements based on the implementation of the Steinmeier formula remain the basis for continuing the work.

One of the main unresolved issues remains control at the Russian-Ukrainian border on a site held by separatists with the support and direct participation of the Russian military.

President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky told a press conference in Paris that he “insisted on the need for Ukraine to restore full control of the state border.” Russian leader Vladimir Putin, referring to the Minsk accords, argued that elections should first be held on the territory of the so-called DPR and LPR.

At a meeting of the President’s Human Rights Council on Tuesday, Vladimir Putin continued a correspondence debate with his Ukrainian counterpart, stating that Kiev’s lack of amnesty law against residents of unrecognized republics was an obstacle to Kiev’s control of the Russian border. It seems to Putin that this is fraught with mass extermination of people, as in Srebrenica, where in 1995 there was a massacre of Bosnian Muslims by Serbian nationalists.

Viktor Mironenko, head of the Center for Ukrainian Studies at the Institute of Europe, commented skeptically on the outcome of the Paris meeting, as well as further prospects for negotiations, in a commentary for the Voice of America Russian service. In his opinion, the summit put everything in its place.

“It is becoming clear who wants to stop the conflict and who does not want to change anything,” he added. “It also becomes apparent that the external factors behind this conflict were much more important than the internal factors. Of course, there are elements of civil confrontation there, but it is still not a civil war, but a war between the two countries. ”

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