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President Vladimir Zelensky. Wikipedia

A solution to the Ukrainian crisis?

After talking by phone, the Russian and Ukrainian Presidents announced their willingness to hold a meeting in the "Normandy Format" on the situation in Ukraine. Emmanuel Macron has given his "total support" for the initiative.

Published: August 8, 2019, 8:41 am

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    At the initiative of the Ukrainian side, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart spoke by telephone on August 7, and agreed to hold a meeting in the “Normandy Format”, that is to say with France and Germany.

    “The working groups are still developing documents to be signed at the highest level,” the press service of the Ukrainian president said in a statement quoted by the Kremlin. This is a significant development coming from the Ukrainian side, since on July 8, Zelensky had mentioned the possibility of such a meeting by wishing to involve the United States, which is no longer the case.

    Anxious to finalize the details of this summit as soon as possible, Zelensky called after French President Emmanuel Macron had lent his support to the initiative. “Emmanuel Macron expressed his full support for Ukraine’s initiatives and agreed on the need for a summit in the near future, which should be preceded by a meeting of the official representatives of the four parties”, said the Ukrainian press service.

    The Elysée said that Emmanuel Macron had “welcomed the constructive spirit and concord” in which Zelensky had acted and “insisted that the progress of the last weeks will have to be consolidated”.

    The French president “assured” his Ukrainian counterpart “of the full mobilization of France to achieve concrete results, in the near future, in the context of the Normandy format”.

    The telephone conversation between Zelensky and Vladimir Putin was also an opportunity for the two heads of state to address the issue of a settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

    In particular, they stressed the importance of strictly adhering to the ceasefire established on 21 July 2019, as well as the agreements on the disengagement of military forces from the demarcation line.

    The Russian president insisted that it was necessary, in order to defuse the conflict, to rule out the possibility of further bombing of the Donbass towns and villages by the Ukrainian army, which is still resulting in civilian casualties.

    For his part, the Ukrainian President said he had asked Vladimir Putin to influence the rebels in eastern Ukraine to stop an escalation of the fighting, after four Ukrainian soldiers were killed on August 6.

    “We must look at reality and end this war,” he said, according to the statement of the Ukrainian presidency.

    The two Heads of State also stated that it was essential to implement the Minsk Agreements in a consistent manner , in particular the legal aspects of giving the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republic a special status.

    In this context, both Presidents noted the need for a constructive dialogue between the warring parties, including in the framework of the Minsk Contact Group.

    Emmanuel Macron had already participated in a telephone interview with the other leaders, including Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel and the former Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, on July 24, 2017.

    The leaders of these countries have since made joint statements on the issue.

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