The new format of negotiations should address not only the settlement of the situation in Donbas but also the restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty over the temporarily occupied Crimea and the construction of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. These proposals were voiced by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in an interview with the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the translation of which was published on the President’s website.
According to the President of Ukraine, such a format could be combined with the Normandy format.
“It would be a more global format than the Normandy Four. The decisions to be made by the Normandy Four will be a part of this plan. After all, the Normandy format deals with the situation in eastern Ukraine. It does not deal with Crimea, ‘pipeline’, guarantees of our security, NATO membership, or the special status of partnership with NATO,” Zelensky explained.
According to him, the Normandy format and its topics in this case “would be part of this structure.”
As the President stressed in the interview, the United States and the European Union could guarantee Ukraine’s security once Ukraine regains its occupied territories and restores territorial integrity.
“Ukraine… should not be provided with vague agreements that can be easily violated as was the case with the Budapest Memorandum. Most likely, there should be serious players: the EU and the United States. Then they would provide Ukraine with a future special security status,” Zelensky added.
As a reminder, the members of the Normandy Four are Ukraine, Germany, France, and Russia. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky proposed expanding the Normandy format by inviting the United States to join it back in 2019. The United States responded that involving new participants in the negotiation process required the consent by all Normandy Four leaders.
Russia stated that Ukraine’s desire to involve the United States in the Normandy format talks on Donbas could be considered an attempt to move away from the Minsk format.
Zelensky stressed earlier that he did not see a big problem in creating another negotiating platform in parallel with the Normandy format if the latter did not work.