The first impressions of the Normandy Four meeting in Roman Bezsmertnyi’s comments for cenzor.net .
Roman Bezsmertnyi is a Ukrainian politican and member of the Parliament for 4 terms. He also was Ukraine’s representative to the political subgroup of the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine in Minsk during 2015 – 2016 and in 2019.
On what emotional background did this meeting take place for you? What did you expect / fear, and did these expectations / fears come true?
The meeting was dominated by “agreed to negotiate” with no result. I did not expect anything else. Moreover, in our situation, with our unprepared authorities, this is the best possible outcome. There is only one emotion – the helplessness of the representatives of the Ukrainian side.
In all the statements before the Normandy meeting and after it, we did not hear the main thing – the Ukraine’s strategy on the reintegration of Donbas and Crimea. Moreover, President Zelensky did not raise the issue of Crimea during the negotiations, according to the press service. How come he did not raise it? Why?
President and his team replaced a “Negotiating tactic” with a “scenario.” The word “scenario” is closer to the film industry and has nothing to do with diplomacy.
The maximum I expected: a solution of the issue of the prisoner release, at least the number of persons that was announced in September. The Normandy format cannot bring anything more because it is already in the Russian paradigm of “constant war.”
Most of all I was afraid that at the meeting of the Normandy Four the issue of war and gas would be combined. Why? Because the war can become a tool of a corrupt business.
What did Ukraine win / lose compared to the previous stage of the Minsk process?
Of course, to an outsider, the Normandy meeting, which we have waited for over three years, seems to be a victory. But you should consider the content rather the form. In fact, this meeting is only a satisfaction of President Zelensky’s ambitions. He was very eager to see Putin and look him in the eyes. This “presidential staring contest” will not affect the progress of the Minsk negotiations. […].
I am convinced that it was a big mistake to raise a gas issue at the Normandy. Firstly, this is not a presidential power. […].
What concessions did Ukraine and Russia make to reach a compromise? Which of the parties can take credit for the negotiations results?
Of course, Russia is dominating. It managed to impose its agenda and combine war and gas issues. On the eve of the presidential election in the Russian Federation, Putin again managed to put on a play “you can’t do without our gas.”
President Putin is holding his ground firmly: to introduce amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine, implement a special local government order in Ukrainian legislation, hold elections in Donbas at gunpoint, amnesty for terrorists, protect the Russian language … That is, there is no thaw in relations which President Macron spoke about.
The task of French President Macron is to use the summit for strengthening his own positions. Emmanuel Macron would very much like to become a new European leader now after Mrs. Merkel leaves politics. However, he is unable to manage the situation inside France. For Chancellor Merkel, it is very important what she will leave to her followers. Of course, it is about the completion of the Nord Stream-2 project. As you understand, the positions of Moscow and Berlin coincide on this issue.
What was the role of gas theme in these negotiations? Are you satisfied with the agreements in this sector?
It seems that if it were not for the “gas” issue, the Normandy meeting would not have taken place; there would have been nothing to talk about. I think it was irrelevant to discuss this issue at Normandy. In Paris, they should have talked about a strategy of reintegrating Donbas and Crimea and not about business on blood. That’s exactly what it looks like. [..]
Based on the outcome of the meeting – what, in your opinion, will be the contours of development of the situation next year?
The meeting will definitely not bring peace to Donbas, nor will it affect the situation in Crimea. Ukraine is in for another hard year without an answer to the question about the future of Donbas and Crimea.
I think that President Zelensky will stop playing a superman, and society will continue to train him and inculcate patriotism. After a publicized and futile meeting with President Putin, President Zelensky will face even greater internal problems: social policy, budget, building a security system…
Source: cenzor.netTags: Minsk agreements Normandy format Russia russia ukraine war Ukraine Vladimir Zelenskiy war