News conference following the Normandy format summit
Volodymyr Zelenskyy: the meeting in the Normandy format should be held as soon as possible
During his first official visit to Germany, President Zelensky called the end of the war and the return of the annexed Ukrainian territories his main task.
The Normandy format meeting should take place as soon as possible. This was announced on June 18 in Berlin by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a joint press briefing with Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel.
The head of the Ukrainian state stressed that it was originally planned to hold a meeting in the Normandy format after the parliamentary elections, according to the press service of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“But I want this meeting to take place as soon as possible. The first working meeting (meeting of foreign policy advisers on preparation – press service) is scheduled for July, “the President of Ukraine noted..
Volodymyr Zelenskyy also noted that the energy security issues of Ukraine and Europe were among the main ones during the dialogue with Angela Merkel.
“At the same time, we are grateful for Germany’s readiness for a mutual dialogue on this difficult issue,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed. – Preserving the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine, its accumulation in Ukrainian storage facilities is a guarantee of energy security for both Ukraine and Europe. This is a civilized method of ensuring a fair and safe European gas market “.
In turn, the Federal Chancellor of Germany said that sanctions against Russia will be eased only after progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
“During the meeting, the President stated that he wants to improve humanitarian conditions for people in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and this should take place within the framework of the Minsk process,” said Angela Merkel.
She announced a meeting of representatives in the Minsk format and stressed that Germany will make efforts in this direction..
Angela Merkel also expressed satisfaction that the Trilateral Contact Group has resumed its work.
“I can wish the President happy steps in this regard, and that Ukraine continues to follow this path,” the Federal Chancellor summed up.
Recall that following a meeting with the President of France on June 17 in Paris, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that his main task is “to end the war and return the annexed Ukrainian territories.”.
“This is my priority. This is my position – as a person and as a president. This is what I fall asleep with and wake up with every day, ”Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed, his press service reported..
The Ukrainian leader noted that “Europe will not be able to feel completely safe as long as Russia pretends that international law simply does not exist.”.
“Both France and our other international partners know and understand what hurts each of the Ukrainians. Nobody wants Ukraine to become a powder keg, where Crimea and Donbass are a fuse, ”he added..
Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that, having elected him president, the Ukrainian people entrusted him with the search for solutions in the Minsk negotiation process.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy on June 17 – 18, 2019 visits France and Germany on an official foreign visit.
On the limits of possible compromises
Alexander Leonov, executive director of the Penta Center for Applied Political Research, summarizes the results of the meetings of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Paris and Berlin, and says that he has demonstrated a certain continuity in foreign policy..
“This is important for Ukraine. The President of Ukraine testified that it is necessary to continue the sanctions pressure on Russia, this is the way for a peaceful settlement in Donbass. The foreign visit was also of an introductory nature – the leaders of France and Germany were eyeing Vladimir Zelinsky with interest. This is evidenced by the statement of Emmanuel Macron about the alleged possibility of negotiations with the separatists. It is obvious that Western leaders are trying to probe the boundaries of possible compromises, ”says Alexander Leonov to the correspondent of the Russian service “Voice of America”.
The emphasis on the desire to see a meeting in the Normandy format, according to the political scientist, was made by the Ukrainian leader in order to update the negotiation process.
“As for the Normandy format, Macron confirmed the possibility of such a meeting, but on condition that it should be effective, with the consent of the four parties. In this case, Russia expects concessions, and without this one cannot expect rapid progress in the process of resolving the situation in Donbass, ”notes Alexander Leonov.
He believes that with regard to the operation of Nord Stream 2, official Berlin pursues its own goals – to be the main gas hub in the European Union..
“And in order for the transit of gas to be preserved through the territory of Ukraine, economic lobbying, pressure on the Nord Stream 2 project is necessary. The only force that can stop construction is the United States. Today Washington is considering the possibility of imposing sanctions against the companies – contractors of the project, and it can be stopped at any time, “says Alexander Leonov..
At the same time, he notes that the position of Germany, which supports the idea of building Nord Stream 2, runs counter to the principles of energy security in Europe and the policy of the European Commission.
Visit – as a process and a result
Economist Oleksiy Luponosov believes that the official visit of the President of Ukraine to Paris and Berlin was of an introductory nature.
“It was a study visit, just a process. One gets the impression that we are being presented with a process, not a result, because if they want to reach agreements, then there are results, ”says Alexey Luponosov to the correspondent of the Russian service “Voice of America”.
When asked that Vladimir Zelensky in Paris and Berlin focused on achieving peace, Alexey Luponosov replies that these words are part of his election rhetoric..
“And not only him. If we look at the campaign speeches of Petro Poroshenko and Volodymyr Zelensky here and there, we see the goal – the end of the war. But in this situation, military action depends on one person who is in Moscow. And he has not yet said yes or no on this matter, “says Alexey Luponosov.
In his opinion, the “golden share” in the process of resolving the conflict is held by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is not ready to make concessions to Ukraine without certain conditions..
“Even if all interested forces gather within the Normandy format with new forces and desires to resolve the conflict in Donbass, Vladimir Putin will still make it clear what he wants to see in exchange for peace: the recognition of Crimea by Russia, certain concessions from Ukraine, so that she abandoned her sanctions intentions, which were promoted by Petro Poroshenko. Ukraine will never make such concessions “, – says Alexey Luponosov.
The conflict in Donbass will continue indefinitely, in different phases, says Alexey Luponosov.
“It will be an acute phase, or a decrease in the number of shelling, the conflict in the current situation can be tried to“ freeze ”, but it cannot be ruled out,” says Alexey Luponosov.
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