Zelenskyy in Paris held talks with Putin, Merkel and Macron in the Normandy format. The fact that this meeting took place means that the Normandy format continues to work, which gives hope for progress in a peaceful settlement. However, the meeting also showed the absence of prerequisites for an agreement between Putin and Zelenskyy on fundamental political issues, the solution of which is necessary for the conduct of elections and the reintegration of Donbas. People’s Deputy, Musa Mahomedov, wrote about this in his blog on “Korrespondent”.
He noted that the results of the meeting could be evaluated in different ways. “Some expected more, others were afraid of the surrender of national interests. It would be naive to expect that the meeting will put an end to the conflict, which has been going on for five years. At the same time, agreements on further separation of forces and on the exchange of prisoners are small but important steps necessary for a peaceful settlement. It is important that the parties fulfill the established agreements. Recently, we already had a positive experience in the exchange of prisoners and the breeding of forces. We need to repeat it,” the MP said.
At the same time, according to Mahomedov, already now it is necessary to start preparing for the next round of negotiations, where it is planned to discuss the holding of local elections in Donbas. “It is important that these elections be held peacefully and in strict accordance with Ukrainian law. These elections should be fair, and not just another legitimization of personnel decisions made in the Kremlin,” the politician emphasized.
Musa Mahomedov believes that Zelenskyy did not cross the “red lines”, put up for him by the public and the opposition. “The exchange of prisoners, the withdrawal of forces, the opening of checkpoints and the extension of the law on special status were before. The only positive thing about the meeting is that it helps to “defrost” and maintain these processes. At the same time, the main achievement did not happen – coordination of the issue of holding local elections in Donbas for the removal of illegal armed groups and the return of control of Ukraine over the border. It was this point that was put at the forefront by both Zelenskyy and Yermak on the eve of the summit.
According to the MP, the summit once again showed that Putin would not make concessions on political issues. He is ready only for the exchange of prisoners, which most often ends with Ukraine giving more prisoners than it receives. Zelenskyy, restricted by “red lines”, will not be able to agree to all the terms of the Kremlin. In such circumstances, the incorporation of the “Steinmeier formula” will become a formal, but not working tool, like the law on special status.
“In the near future, we can hardly expect: the extension of the law on special status, the exchange of prisoners, the creation of new checkpoints on the contact line, the selection of three new sites for the separation of forces, the incorporation of “Steinmeier’s formula” into Ukrainian law. At the same time, there are no prerequisites for compromises on political issues, in particular on the issue of holding local elections in Donbas.
The main thing that should be noted is that neither a breakthrough nor a surrender of national interests took place at the meeting. The positive thing about the meeting is that it supports the unfreezing of processes such as the exchange of prisoners and the breeding of forces. However, the meeting showed the absence of prerequisites for an agreement between Putin and Zelenskyy on fundamental political issues, the solution of which is necessary for the elections and the reintegration of Donbas,” Musa Mahomedov summed up.