French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed the importance of the implementation of the Minsk agreements and advocated the continuation of work in the “Normandy format”, as previously mentioned by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy. On April 16, the Cabinet of Ministers of Germany announced this following the results of negotiations between the German and French leaders with the President of Ukraine.
“The Chancellor and the French President pointed to support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the statement reads, TASS reports.
Also, the Cabinet of Ministers of Germany indicated that the parties discussed the situation on the border of Ukraine with Russia and in Crimea, demanding “a reduction in the reinforcement of troops in order to achieve de-escalation.”
Earlier on April 16, Zelensky said that he was ready to discuss the situation in Donbass in the format of the Normandy Four with all leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin. He also pointed out that during the talks with Macron and Merkel, who joined by video link, Putin did not join this conversation.
On the same day, the Ukrainian president announced that Ukraine is ready at any time to return to a meaningful diplomatic dialogue on Donbass. He stressed that the country expects any scenario for the development of events, but Ukraine is striving for a peaceful settlement of the conflict.
Zelensky on March 9 announced his readiness to meet with each of the leaders of the Normandy Four countries on the situation in the Donbass (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) if the quadripartite talks are postponed.
On January 12, in Berlin, negotiations were held between political advisers to the leaders of the Normandy Four countries on the Ukrainian settlement. Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Russia, noted that the meeting was useful, but no final decisions have been made yet.
The next day, the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Dmitry Kuleba said that the country’s authorities insist on holding a meeting in the “Normandy format” at the level of heads of state, but allegedly because of Russia, it was postponed.
On April 14, the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed Russia’s readiness for meetings in the “Normandy format”, but indicated that Kiev should not abandon the dialogue with the self-proclaimed Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk (LPR) republics. Russian Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko specified that Kiev refuses to dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk, thereby not only violating the Minsk agreements, but also the possibility of resolving the situation.
In turn, Zelensky on January 15, in a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said that there is practically no progress in the peaceful settlement of the situation in Donbass.
The so-called “Normandy format” of negotiations on Ukraine has existed since June 2014. Then, during the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the landing of the Allied troops in Normandy, the leaders of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France for the first time discussed the settlement of the conflict in Donbass. The previous summit was held in Paris on December 9, 2019.