The talks between political advisors of the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, Ukraine and France) in Berlin were difficult, but constructive, covering the whole range of pressing issues, the office of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky informed on the outcomes of the meeting on its official website on Tuesday.
"The sides have covered all matters on the agenda - from security issues to humanitarian ones. The discussion was not easy, but it was of a constructive nature," the message says. The Ukrainian side added that all participants of the talks "stressed the importance of the Donbass ceasefire," while Kiev focused on "the need to strengthen the security component of the agreements."
The office of the Ukrainian leader informed that the participants of the talks, where Kiev was represented by chief of the Ukrainian president’s staff Andrei Yermak, "discussed the adherence to the agreements reached by heads of Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia during the Paris summit in December 2019." Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) Ambassador Heidi Grau also took part in the talks. "Right now, a break was declared, the meeting will continue at the level of political advisors on Friday, January 22," the office concluded. The venue of the future talks has not been announced, TASS reports.
The January 12 talks lasted over six hours. The previous meeting of political advisors in the Normandy format was held on September 11, 2020 in Berlin.
Talks in the so-called Normandy format over Ukraine began to be held in June 2014. During special ceremonies on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the allied landings in Normandy during World War II, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany for the first time discussed ways of settling the conflict in Donbass. A number of telephone conversations and summit meetings, as well as contacts between foreign ministers have been held since. The latest summit in the Normandy format was held in Paris in December 2019. The summit yielded a statement calling for a comprehensive ceasefire in Donbass, amending Ukraine’s laws in compliance with the so-called Steinmeier formula, and committing Donbass’ special status to paper in the Ukrainian constitution. Most of those provisions have not been implemented since.
In late December 2020, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that another summit of the Normandy Four leaders could be arranged only after agreements reached during their previous meeting were implemented.