The United States is ready to join the negotiations in the Normandy format, as well as a parallel process, if the negotiators find it useful.
“As for the negotiation format, you know that I and other people in the Obama administration participated in a format parallel to the Normandy one. Germany and France were in the Normandy format along with Ukraine and Russia, and then we talked to Moscow and Kyiv in support of the goals and aspirations to try to encourage, close the gaps, and add our share of creativity. These efforts have not progressed much. What we have told Ukraine, Russia, the Europeans is that we are ready to participate again in any form – in the Normandy format or again in parallel support, if our side sees a way we can help,” U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said at the YES Brainstorming conference in Kyiv.
During the visit of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to the United States, the importance of keeping the Black Sea open to international navigation and the current respect for freedom of navigation there had been highlighted, Nuland noted.
The U.S. Under Secretary of State stressed that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and evacuation of people from that country in no way affected the U.S. strategic interest in Ukraine, as well as the deepening of bilateral cooperation.
As a reminder, the Normandy format members are Ukraine, Germany, France. and Russia. President Zelensky suggested that the United States join the Normandy format back in 2019.
The French Ministry for Foreign Affairs spoke in favour of maintaining a dialogue with Washington on Donbas but strongly opposed U.S. participation in the Normandy format. At the same time, Russia stated that Ukraine’s desire to involve the United States in the Donbas talks could be regarded as an attempt to move away from the Minsk format.
Zelensky noted that he did not see a big problem in creating another negotiating platform in parallel with the Normandy format if the first one did not work.