During the Normandy Format summit in Paris, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky rejected the idea of disengaging forces and heavy weaponry along the entire demarcation line in the Donbas, which “saddened” the Russian delegation, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as cited by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
The minister said that ahead of the summit, the two sides had agreed to a withdrawal along the entire front line, and had even drafted the corresponding document. According to Lavrov, as soon as the meeting began, Zelensky “said in strong terms that he cannot go through with it”, and that the new disengagement could take place only in three towns.
The head of the aggressor state’s foreign policy department claims that the Ukrainian president justified his refusal by pointing out that the disengagement in Petrovsk, Zolote and Stanytsia Luhanska had taken nearly half a year, and that at that rate, disengagement along the entire demarcation line would take “10-15 years”.
Lavrov said that the head of state “categorically rejected” Putin’s suggestion that the parties “begin with the three additional towns, but with the goal being for the demarcation line to be free from the forces and weaponry of the conflicting sides”.
Lavrov said that he was also “alarmed” to hear Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko say that in future Ukraine will pursue a policy which differs to the Minsk agreements.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Zahorodniuk said recently that Ukraine is opposed to the idea of disengagement of forces along the entire demarcation line in the Donbas, because it would lead to the “freezing” of the conflict.