Putin plots Ukraine peace talks without Ukraine

UkraineAlert by Peter Dickinson TUE, MAR 30, 2021

Ukrainian diplomats have raised the alarm this week over news of Russian plans to hold Ukraine peace talks without Ukraine’s participation. The Kremlin gambit has revived concerns that Moscow aims to bypass Kyiv and reach agreement directly with the West over Ukraine’s geopolitical future.

Speaking in Moscow on March 29, Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed to reporters that preparations were currently underway for a video conference between Russian President Vladimir Putin and fellow Normandy Format leaders German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, with the conflict in Ukraine set to feature prominently on the trilateral agenda. Peskov stated that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy would not be invited to join the talks.

Together with Ukraine and Russia, Germany and France make up the quartet of countries involved in the Normandy Format of negotiations to resolve the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. The format takes its name from an initial meeting held in northern France’s Normandy region in June 2014 during commemorative events to mark the seventieth anniversary of the WWII D-Day landings.

“Our position is clear: nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine,” stated Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko in response to news of the new Russian initiative. “Only the full Normandy Format offers the prospect of progress towards resolving the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict. Ensuring a comprehensive ceasefire is the priority.” (Click to Source)

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