Poroshenko: Normandy format remains Ukraine's interest
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said that negotiations with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin are planned for the end of next week to arrange a meeting in the Normandy format, according to the president's press service.
"We have confirmed our interest in continuing the Normandy format," Poroshenko said, the press service reported.
Poroshenko also said that newly elected President of France Emmanuel Macron would soon hold negotiations with the Chancellor of Germany to discuss the Normandy format and Ukraine.
The Ukrainian president recalled that Russia had recognized fake documents of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic ("DPR") and Luhansk People's Republic ("LPR") at the state level, seized property belonging to the Ukrainian state and individuals in the occupied areas in Donbas. Besides, the ruble zone in the occupied territories is being expanded. "There are many new conditions that must be taken into account in the Normandy format. And what do we require? We underline the necessity of approving the roadmap of the Minsk process – what and when must happen," he said.
He also said he hoped that understanding and sufficient reasons would be found for Russia so that the roadmap could be approved. "Only Russia hinders that. We do not see any constructive steps," Poroshenko stressed.
Russia continues its attacks on civilians in Ukrainian east. In this respect, Poroshenko mentioned the tragedy of May 13 in Avdiyivka when four civilians were killed as a result of shelling by Russia's hybrid military forces.
What is more, Poroshenko commented on the idea that it would be more efficient to involve the United States in the Normandy format. "I emphasize, they were involved and will be always involved, inter alia, during the work of the previous Administration. The names changes, but there was a diplomat with the rank of an ambassador who was fully informed about the entire content of negotiations in the Normandy format that were coordinated with our American partners," Poroshenko said.
Will U.S. join Normandy formatThe president emphasized that the United States is not only a strategic partner of Ukraine but also a country that is a signatory to the Budapest Memorandum. "Of course, we count on a very powerful and efficient support of the U.S., inter alia, in the Normandy format," he noted. "It is planned to choose a special representative of the U.S. soon who will be responsible for coordination of actions with Ukraine," he added.
Poroshenko stressed that the Chancellor of Germany and the President of France represent the EU. "This format allows mobilization of global solidarity with Ukraine in countering the Russian aggressor," he said.
Answering a question whether there is a need to look for another option of solving the situation in Donbas different from the Minsk agreements, the president noted that Ukraine uses every instrument available to resolve the situation in Donbas, establish peace and return Crimea. He emphasized that the Minsk agreements were included in the decision of the UN Security Council and due to the Minsk agreements, sanctions against Russia as an aggressor country and everyone who supports terrorism were introduced.
"The Minsk agreements allow [us] to demonstrate the perpetrators to the whole world. The Minsk agreements allow us to come to the court, bring the perpetrators to justice, including international justice. The Minsk agreements make Russia pay the price within the international law for violating them," Poroshenko said noting that it has become possible due to the fact that the Minsk agreements have been signed by Putin. "There is no signature by him anywhere else. And this allows us to bring Russia and Putin to justice and require the fulfillment of the undertaken commitments," he emphasized.
The president also listed the advantages of the Minsk peace agreements on Donbas. "They do not kill us because of the Minsk agreements. We stopped the attack in September 2014 thanks to the Minsk agreements. We introduced sanctions in February 2015 thanks to the Minsk agreements and Russia pays the price. I think it is not enough, but we can do it thanks to the Minsk agreements," Poroshenko said.