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Russia Suggests Making Changes to Format of Normandy Four Meetings

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The Russian Federation proposes to change the form of organisation of the Normandy Four meetings, using the principle of rotation of heads. The proposal was made by Dmitry Kozak, the deputy head of the Russian presidential administration in a letter sent to colleagues in Berlin, Kyiv and Paris, the media outlets report, citing sources in the Russian delegation.

“One of the reasons (albeit not decisive) for the lack of any progress in achieving the practical results of difficult negotiations in the Normandy format is their inadequate organisation… Given the equality of all participants in the Normandy format, it would be appropriate to use the principle of rotation of heads which is widely used in international diplomatic practice so that this function is performed by each of the four participants in turn,” the document reads.

Kozak proposed to agree on and sign the draft common results of the video conference of political advisers to the Normandy Four members, which was held on 18 March, no later than on 22 March.

In addition, it is noted that the Russian side offered to formalise the commitment of Ukraine to provide a written position on the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

In particular, it is proposed to oblige Kyiv to bring the July statement of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine on the ceasefire in line with the measures to comply with the ceasefire agreed on the same month “without any exceptions and interpretations.”

These commitments provided, inter alia, that return fire was possible only on orders of the leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine or the Russian-occupation forces after an unsuccessful attempt to use existing mechanisms for responding to ceasefire violations.

Meanwhile, the press center of the Joint Forces Operation reported that two ceasefire violations were recorded in Donbas on 19 March. Near Vodiane, in the Sea of Azov area, the occupiers opened fire from 122mm artillery systems, 120mm mortars, heavy machine guns, grenade launchers of different systems and small arms. One Ukrainian serviceman was killed in shelling.

Bohdan Marusyak

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