Normandy Four meeting on Ukraine ends with no tangible results

  • Mihai Turcanu
  • 12.6.2018 17:53

The meeting of the foreign ministers of France, Ukraine, Germany and Russia convened on 11 June in Berlin to discuss the implementation of the ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine, ended with no result due to the disagreement between the ministers of Russia and Ukraine on the essential specifics of a prospective deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission in the region.

This was the first meeting of the Normandy Format since February 2017, and its only stated outcome is that Ukraine and Russia have reaffirmed their commitment to the Minsk peace plan which has so far failed to end the violence, and also an agreement in principle of the need to deploy the UN blue helmets to enforce peace in the region. Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stated that future negotiations will outline specific details of this mission on which Ukraine and Russia were still  “very much apart.” While the Ukrainians and the West want the soldiers to be deployed throughout the non-government-controlled territory and on the separatists-controlled border between Ukraine and Russia, Moscow would have them deployed along the demarcation line between separatists and Ukrainian forces – a move that would further alienate Donbass from Ukraine. This position assumed currently assumed by Russia constitutes a backtracking from 28 February statement of  Russian President Vladimir Putin that he was ”at the very least not against” a deployment of UN peacekeepers throughout the occupied Donbass, including on the Russian-Ukrainian border segment; this developement is unsurprising, as Putin's declaration was obviously misleading as on the same occasion he stated that such a step must be negotiated by Ukraine with its proxies in Donetsk and Luhansk, something that makes no sense from a practical viewpoint as these mercenaries are under the direct control from of Kremlin. The 11 June Normandy Four meeting proves this format (which also excludes powerful and interested actors such as the US or the UK) can only have but very little meaningful influence on the advancement of the peace process in Ukraine

About author: Mihai Turcanu

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