In an interview with Bild, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that he expects difficult negotiations on the settlement of the conflict in the east of Ukraine in the so-called Normandy format that includes Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine. After a 16-month break, a meeting of the foreign ministers of the four countries will take place in Berlin.
The lack of progress in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements has complicated the situation for people in the east of Ukraine who want nothing but peace, Maas believes. He stressed the divergence of positions and interests between Russia and Ukraine on many issues.
According to the minister, it is necessary to do everything possible to introduce a "long-lasting cease-fire." Maas also stressed the need to "withdraw heavy weapons" from the line of contact and improve the situation using humanitarian aid for Donbas residents. The peacekeeping mission of the United Nations should also be discussed, he said.
The Normandy format was established in June 2014 to settle the situation in eastern Ukraine. It involves Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France. Meetings of the Normandy Four are held both at the level of heads of state, and at the level of foreign ministers and advisors.