Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Donetsk People's Republic

Comment by Natalia Nikonorova following the meeting of the Normandy Four leaders

10 December 2019
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The main result of the meeting in the Normandy Format is the fact that the new president of Ukraine, no matter how he tries to reinterpret the meaning of the Minsk agreements before the summit in Paris, officially confirmed his obligations to implement the Minsk agreements in the form signed and approved by guarantor countries and the UN Security Council.

However, due to the fault of the Ukrainian party, it was not possible to agree on disengagement along the entire contact line, although it was such a decision that was previously agreed upon by the advisers of the Normandy Four leaders. The life and health of citizens living near the contact line, as well as the preservation of vital infrastructure, remains under the threat of shelling by Ukrainian armed forces.

It is necessary to pay attention to the fact that the “Normandy Four” unanimously voiced the need for a ceasefire, but Mr. Zelensky “does not know right now how to achieve it”. It raises doubts about his competence and the presence of political will as head of state and commander in chief. For six months now we have been talking about the need to observe additional measures to control the ceasefire, and so far Kiev has been extremely negligent in observing them. Once again, we note that no new solutions are required. The president of Ukraine should only fulfill the obligations that his state, and after Normandy meeting, he personally took upon himself.

Moreover, we thank the President of Russia Vladimir Putin for his statements on the need to improve the living conditions of citizens living near the contact line. Thanks to the firm position of the Russian leader in the final communique, such important vectors for further work in the Minsk format were prescribed as the exchange of held persons according to the formula “all identified to all identified”, the definition of the following three pilot sites for the implementation of the disengagement of forces and hardware, the start of work on opening new checkpoints across the contact line.

Also extremely important is the situation with the implementation of political items of the Package of Measures, which are the foundation of the entire peaceful settlement process. The Ukrainian president pledged to extend the law on Donbass special status and coordinate with us all the legal aspects of providing the special status with a permanent character. It is not only about a careful study of the text of this law and amendments to it, taking into account the implementation of the Steinmeier’s formula, but also about the coordination with us of each ensuing sub-legislative normative legal act in each direction, as well as the consolidation of the special status into the Ukrainian constitution. We urge the Ukrainian leadership to take their commitments as seriously as possible and finally begin to take the necessary steps for a political settlement.

We emphasize again that the Normandy format is a control mechanism for the implementation of the Minsk agreements and the settlement of details and issues that arise in this process. Moreover, meetings in Minsk are an uncontested way of direct interaction between the conflict parties and the implementation of the documents of Minsk package in constant mutual coordination between Kiev and Donbass. If Kiev really wants to renew peace, it is necessary first of all to come to an agreement with representatives of the Republics, and not to wait for a meeting in the Normandy format for another unsuccessful attempt to revise the Minsk agreements.