Putin complains about Ukraine to France and Germany
Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Ukraine in a series of phone calls with French President Emmanuel Macron and the recently elected German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, on Dec. 21, the Kremlin has said on its website.
While discussing the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine with Scholz, Putin accused Ukraine of violating the Minsk Protocol.
“Putin briefed (Chancellor Scholz) on the situation at hand, pointing out that Kyiv persists in ignoring its obligations as stipulated by the Minsk Protocol of 2015, thus precluding the Normandy Contact Group from resuming its meetings,” the report said.
The same sentiment was expressed by Putin in his conversation with Macron: “The Russian President stressed that any further talks within the Normandy Format hinge upon the Ukrainian government fulfilling its Minks Protocol obligations.”
However, Kremlin’s press release did not elaborate on what specific such “obligations” the Russian president had in mind.
Russia has consistently failed to implement its own obligations under the Minsk agreements, and has refused even to admit that it is a party to the war in Ukraine – despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
The Normandy Format talks between Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany started in 2014 after Russia invaded and occupied the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and fomented an armed conflict in Ukraine’s Donbas region that has already killed some 15,000 Ukrainians.
France and Germany aim to call a meeting of the Normandy Contact Group in near future, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Dec. 9.
Earlier, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Russia of trying to sabotage the Normandy peace process by making unreasonable demands of Germany, France and Ukraine.
Russia continues to delay the contact group meeting, citing Ukraine’s violations of the Minsk Protocol.
Top diplomats from Ukraine, Germany and France met on Nov. 15, with Germany and France jointly warning Russia against violating the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The French foreign minister said a Normandy Four (Ukraine, Russia, France, Germany) meeting had been proposed for Nov. 11, but that this had been rebuffed by Moscow.
For the past year, the foreign ministers of Germany and France have been trying to arrange a meeting with their Russian and Ukrainian counterparts in the Normandy Format. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has declined to meet every single time, Kuleba said.
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