Russia is trying to shift the Donbas settlement process away "from the Normandy Four level to the Trilateral Contact Group [Ukraine, Russia, and OSCE], where there are no Germany and France, but there is the ORDLO [unrecognized Russian puppet authorities in the occupied areas of Donbas]," says Ukraine's delegate to the TCG representing certain areas of Donetsk region, journalist Sergiy Garmash.
Therefore, the new meeting of the Normandy Four (Ukraine, Germany, France, and Russia) leaders will not lead to the end of Donbas war, contrary to the expectations earlier voiced by President Volodymyr Zelensky, Garmash believes, according to Ukraine 24 TV channel.
In his opinion, there are no prerequisites for ending the war at the moment.
"I remember the Paris [summit of N4 leaders in December 2019] communiqué: it contains the point about the next meeting of the Normandy format leaders. As far as I remember, they were supposed to discuss including the issue of early elections in the occupied territories. What are the chances of holding such elections while Ukraine is not breaching the red lines like [regaining] control over the border and the withdrawal of illegal armed groups, their disarmament?" Garmash said.
Also, he recalled that Russia does not intend to recognize itself party to the conflict in Donbas.
Russia insists on securing a special status [for Donbas] in the Constitution of Ukraine, which again is unacceptable for us
"On August 21, [Russian Foreign Minister Segei] Lavrov in an interview with the Trud newspaper said that Russia was not a party to the conflict, and accordingly, there are no armed formations there according to the logic of the Russian side. Russia insists on securing a special status [for Donbas] in the Constitution of Ukraine, which again is unacceptable for us. As an analyst and as a journalist, I see no opportunities to end the war, although I don't know what President Zelensky puts into this concept," he said.
Normandy Four talks: background
On August 25, the President's Office said the meeting of advisors to the Normandy Four leaders, initially scheduled for August 28, was delayed for an indefinite period.
Volodymyr Zelensky said that the Normandy Four leaders' summit that was set to be held following the advisors' meeting would provide a high chance of ending the war in Donbas.