Will the Normandy Quartet close the topic of Ukraine?

Will the Normandy Quartet close the topic of Ukraine?

A meeting of the heads of the Normany Quartet (Presidents of Russia, France, Ukraine, as well as German Chancellor) is taking place in Paris today, dedicated to the crisis in Ukraine. Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, and Petro Poroshenko are discussing the upcoming elections in Donbass, the ceasefire with a gradual withdrawal of troops from the line of contact, as well as access of OSCE observers to the conflict zone.

According to the Deputy Chairman of the Editorial Board of Vestnik Kavkaza, General Director of the Caspian Cooperation Institute Sergey Mikheyev, eight months since the last meeting of the Normandy Quartet in Minsk can be appreciated as slow progress in resolving the conflict in Ukraine.

"The key event is that two days ago, after Vladimir Putin’s speech at the UN General Assembly and the beginning of operations in Syria, we managed to agree in Minsk about withdrawal of heavy weapons. I am sure that these two facts are connected. Speaking about the last 8 months, we can say that active fighting has stopped and now heavy weapons may be withdrawn,’’ he added.

According to Sergey Mikheev, today each party is pursuing its own goals. ‘‘It is difficult to name Poroshenko’s goals, because he isn’t independent in his decisions, and he is constantly in contact with the United States. We insist on a simple thing – a real political reform in Ukraine.

Political analyst Alexey Poltorakov said that the previous meeting set the tone for the Minsk process. "All agreements and breakthroughs made during the Minsk process were minimally successful.

"Many important events in Ukraine during eight months were made under the influence of the Normandy Quartet. ‘‘The situation in the eastern part of Ukraine has fundamentally changed, as we managed to stop fighting, in which dozens of people were killed and hundreds were wounded. We hope that the Normandy Quartet will maintain its pace and we will continue to meet in the next year. The recent agreements allow us to hope for an optimistic scenario," he added.

The Director of the Institute of Political Studies, Sergey Markov, described the previous meeting of the Normandy Quartet in Minsk as a diplomatic victory for Vladimir Putin, "who defended the plan, which allows Donbas to achieve peace and to use the situation for the democratization of Ukraine and transformation of its current repressive ultranationalist regime into a free democracy."

"Unfortunately, the main problem lies in the fact that Kiev and Washington aren't fulfilling the Minsk-2 Agreement. Now the situation has changed: after the meeting between Putin and Obama, Kiev agreed to withdraw heavy weapons,’’ he said.

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