At the Normandy Four Summit in Paris, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the Minsk Agreements were not a "fossil document" and welcomed the proposals put forward by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to amend them. Such a statement by Ms Merkel shatters the widespread stereotype that everyone at the Paris meeting stood against Zelensky, including the German chancellor, who allegedly took Russia's side. As for Emmanuel Macron, sources say he held a neutral stance during discussions.

Angela Merkel's position indicates that she remains a staunch supporter of the idea of ​​implementing Minsk Agreements, but does not support the position taken by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the inviolability of this document. Her words testified to here being aware of the fact that the Minsk deal in its current form just isn't working and is unlikely to ever be able to work. That's why she supported Zelensky's idea of ​​upgrading the Minsk Agreements.

What can the Minsk update be about? The key point Zelensky noted at the Paris summit is to ensure that Ukraine regains control of the border with Russia before elections are held in the occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. This is what has to be changed in the Minsk Agreements first and foremost.

Also, it is necessary to specify and seek compromise options on other issues related to both security and political parts of the agreements. For example, it's about seeking out realistic options for fulfilling the task of disarming illegal armed groups operating in the conflict zone.

What can the Minsk update be about? The key point Zelensky noted at the Paris summit is to ensure that Ukraine regains control of the border with Russia before elections are held in the occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions

The idea of ​​holding local elections in the region should also be specified in terms of security. That's because, for example, Russia and Ukraine's visions of the issue of "special status" have fundamental differences. Therefore, in the framework of modernization of the Minsk Agreements, a more detailed election plan should be laid down, in particular, that the election will result in the dismantling of the separatist "republics", while it will be local self-government bodies which will gain the "special status", rather than some "republics".

Therefore, those issues require compromise solutions and specifics on the mechanisms for the implementation of specific points of the Minsk Agreements.

To this end, it is not necessary to approve a conditional Minsk-3 deal. These may be additional protocols, such as the one on disengagement of forces and weapons along the demarcation line, or a roadmap for the implementation of Minsk Agreements, which will outline the mechanisms for the implementation of their individual points.

Russia's reaction to Ukraine's attempts to modernize Minsk is quite predictable. However, this does not mean that everything, including these agreements, is inviolable – nothing is forever, after all.

Indeed, Putin doesn't want to back down from what suits him. But Zelensky's rigid and principled stance at the Paris summit indicated that if there are no compromises, such as on the border issue, there will be no elections in Donbas and no "special status". So the parties will have to seek those compromise solutions. In this context, Zelensky voiced an important message that further negotiations should see movement from both sides – it cannot be solely about concessions on the part of Ukraine. Therefore, the key policy points of the Minsk Agreements will remain closely tiled to security issues.

In my opinion, one of the main outcomes of the Paris summit for Ukraine is that the country managed to imposed its agenda. Previously, it was like that: Putin made some suggestions, and Poroshenko said no. Now the situation has changed: Zelensky is attacking, that is, offering new ideas on how to move on, while Putin is saying no. But if everyone says no all the time, nothing will ever change. And it is precisely such an offensive stance by Zelensky, who is imposing discussions about the further agenda of talks  will lead to Germany and France starting to pressure Putin, to make him more compliant and constructive. Otherwise, there will be no movement forward.

Russia's reaction to Ukraine's attempts to modernize Minsk is quite predictable. However, this does not mean that everything, including these agreements, is inviolable – nothing is forever, after all.

So far, we have only heard from Angela Merkel that she supports the idea of ​​modernizing the Minsk Agreements. However, Emmanuel Macron is also interested in the positive outcome of the talks, as he claims a stronger role for France in the negotiation process. Importantly, at the Paris summit, Macron demonstrated his neutral stance because there were great fears that he would play on Putin's side. Sources indicate that he was neutral and acted purely as moderator. So it will be Merkel who will be putting more pressure on Russia.

It should be recalled that there's nothing new in the idea to upgrade Minsk. It was earlier voiced by the OSCE earlier when they offered introducing peacekeepers and a transitional international administration. Such steps would also mean modernizing the Minsk Agreements and trying to find more effective mechanisms for implementing Minsk.

At their present form, the Minsk Agreements are impossible to implement: it is and will remain a dead document unless compromise options and concrete effective mechanisms are found for the implementation of certain clauses of the Minsk deal.

Of course, parties could cling to these clauses and say: "No step back!", but in this case, nothing will change. That is why, at one time, the "Sajdik Plan" emerged to seek new mechanisms for implementing the Minsk Agreements.

So the idea of ​​upgrading Minsk has long been floating around. And it is very good that Zelensky officially voiced it at the latest summit and is now beginning to promote it at the level of the Normandy Four. Such actions will undoubtedly see significant support on the part of the international community.

So the idea of ​​upgrading Minsk has long been floating around. And it is very good that Zelensky officially voiced it at the latest summit and is now beginning to promote it at the level of the Normandy Four

Maybe in four months, at the next Normandy Four Summit, or perhaps later, Minsk will ultimately be upgraded. However, it is also likely that Putin will continue to hold his ground, and possibly even ignore the next summit. The tactics of dragging are Putin's classic, which he used ahead of the Paris summit and the latest prisoner exchange. However, experience shows that the Kremlin chief may drag on for some time, but once he realizes that there is no other way but to agree to new constructive options, he will go for a compromise.

Earlier, Putin had strongly opposed the idea of deploying ​​peacekeepers in Donbas, and then proposed his own version of a peacekeeping force. The proposal did not suit the Ukrainian side, but showed that even Putin is no "fossil", so he, too, can change his tactics.

Therefore, nothing is forever, and Minsk can be flexible, too. The main thing is that Ukraine has voiced its agenda and is now promoting it. Moreover, Ukraine now has the negotiating initiative, for the first time in all years of Donbas talks.

Volodymyr Fesenko is Chairman of the Board of the Penta Center for Applied Political Studies