Lavrov: Russia ready to pull out of April Normandy summit

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia is ready to pull out of the Normandy Format summit scheduled for April. He said that the date of the next summit has not been finalized, RBC news agency reports.

“When we hear our Normandy Format colleagues speaking about April as the date for convening the summit, it’s their wishes, their ideas that they are voicing. But not more than that,” said Lavrov on Monday, February 17.

He added that there are currently “no reasons to hold a summit in April”.

“But they could arise, if the decisions of the last summit of the Four are implemented,” the Russian minister remarked.

Lavrov blamed Ukraine for “not wanting to negotiate” and for the lack of progress in the disengagement of forces in the Donbas. Disengagement has, however, taken place around Zolote, Stanytsia Luhanska, Bohdanivka and Petrovske.

The Russian Foreign Minister expressed dissatisfaction with Ukraine’s reluctance to incorporate the so-called “Steinmeier formula” into its law on a permanent basis. He also resented Ukraine’s assertion that Russia is party to the conflict in the Donbas.

“And our European partners are trying to play along with them,” lamented the Russian minister. He said that, apart from Russia, the logic of all of the Normandy Format participants is “flawed”.

The first Normandy Format summit since 2016 was held in Paris on December 9, 2019.

The participants supported a ceasefire, an “all for all” prisoner exchange before December 31, granting the Red Cross access to all prisoners, disengagement of forces in three areas, the extension of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission’s mandate and the continuation of demining.

The next meeting between the leaders of Ukraine, France, Germany and Russia was planned for March 2020. By then, the political advisors of the four leaders are supposed to agree on ways to implement the political measures: passing a law on the special manner of self-governance of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions on a permanent basis, incorporating the Steinmeier Formula into Ukrainian law, and preparing to hold local elections.

  Lavrov, Russia, Donbas, Ukraine, Normandy Format

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