Update on Normandy Four Talks

Moscow-based journalist Bryan MacDonald has tweeted the following thread regarding what happened at the Normandy Four talks:

Russia’s @Kommersant (known to have good Kremlin sources) reports Paris negotiations on peace in Eastern Ukraine have failed to reach an agreement. Moscow claims it’s because Kiev can’t agree to withdraw its military from front lines. https://kommersant.ru/doc/4187813?from=main_1…

Putin says he had a “good, businesslike” private meeting with Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky. The leaders are now having dinner with Emmanuel Macron & Angela Merkel. With a press briefing to follow

Kommersant adds that Ukraine and Russia have agreed on gas transit. If so, that would be a major win for Zelensky and give him something tangible to take back to Kiev.

However, that appears to be in dispute according to Ukrainian media as relayed by Dr. Ivan Katchanovski (academic expert that has been cited on this blog regarding the Maidan violence in February of 2014):

Head of @NaftogazUkraine denies that @ZelenskyyUa and #Putin agreed on new Russian gas transit agreement via #Ukraine

Furthermore, Katchanovski says that Ukrainian media is also reporting that no deal has been reached at the meeting, but that a further exchange of prisoners before the end of the year has been agreed to:

#Ukrainian media reports that Zelensky and Putin discussed elections in #Donbas and resumption of #Ukraine control of border with #Russia there but failed to agree which would be first. Negotiations continue in #NormandySummit format of leaders of 4 states

My comment on this point: Russia and the Donbas rebels would be stupid to agree to returning control of the border prior to elections as Russia and the rebels would have little leverage to force Kiev to implement the agreement on elections. More from Katchanovksi:

#Ukrainian media also reports that #Zelensky and #Putin has agreed on new exchange of prisoners before New Year. #Ukraine#Russia#NormandySummit

So, it looks like some more trust-building measures have been agreed, but no deal. About the best that most of us expected at this point.

Update #1:

According to the Normandy Summit Communique just released to the public, the participants agree to the following:

  1. Current ceasefire will be sustained and strengthened by adding 3 new areas where forces on both sides will pull back. This will happen by the end of March, 2020; more de-mining activities will also occur;
  2. Confirmation of the Steinmeier Formula and the general principles of the Minsk Agreement;
  3. A further summit within 4 months.

I will provide a link to the communique once it is available. I have written this summary based on an image of the communique embedded within a tweet.

One thought on “Update on Normandy Four Talks”

  1. At lest the prisoner exchange is going forward. I thought I saw on a utube report that the gas deal was done a few days ago. It was kind a good will jester on Russia part.

    Thanks for the update and it will be fun to see how the worlds so-called free press spin this.

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