Former Ukrainian President Poroshenko speaks about squabble with Putin over Steinmeier Formula at Normandy summit

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that at the last Normandy Format summit in 2016 he and Vladimir Putin had a heated argument regarding the Steinmeier Formula.

“The last meeting was in Berlin. Putin said: We have the Steinmeier Formula, written by Lavrov. I say: Here is a letter from the two foreign ministers of France and Germany, in which they set out what the Steinmeier Formula is. He takes this form, reads it and says: No, this isn’t it at all, Lavrov is writing the Steinmeier Formula. I say: Excuse me, Lavrov won’t be writing anything for us, especially since Steinmeier himself is sitting at this table and you can ask him. [Putin responds:] I’m not going to ask him, you’ve been trying to win him over, we’ll use our own propositions as the basis,” Poroshenko told 5 Kanal in an interview.

He remarked that this is essentially the style of negotiations with Russia, and added that no “Steinmeier Formula” actually exists as such.

“There were propositions from German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, which consisted of the following: Once the security component has been established, once the elections have been organized in the ideal manner, once the OSCE has recognized these elections as meeting the criteria of free will, the law on the special regime of local self-governance will be implemented not two weeks after the election results have been finalized, but on the day that the OSCE reports that the elections were free,” he said.

During the interview, Poroshenko told another story related to local elections in the Donbas and to Putin.

“Putin made me an offer, when there was still dialog, in 2015, I think. He says: What are you resisting? Let’s agree who we will elect, and do this through elections, it’s the only possible way,” the former Ukrainian president recounted, noting that he rejected the offer.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said that during the Normandy Format session on the level of diplomatic advisors early this September, agreement was reached regarding the text of the Steinmeier Formula. It must still be signed by the members of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk, as a precondition to a new Normandy Format summit.

  Putin, Poroshenko, Normandy Four