Ukraine’s foreign minister rules out inclusion of US in Normandy talks
There are no plans to include the United States in the Normandy Contact Group, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Dec. 14.
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.
“The U.S. has always been involved in the peace process to some degree,” Kuleba told Ukrainian news agency Interfax Ukraine.
“There are currently no plans to change the Normandy Format – it’s going to remain as it is. However, thanks to the efforts of (U.S.) President (Joe) Biden’s Administration, bilateral talks between Russia and the United States are beginning to take shape. The purpose of these talks is to put an end to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, so nothing … will be done behind Ukraine’s back.”
The contacts between the White House and the Ukrainian government will be maintained in terms of both quality and quantity, he added. “The U.S. will make no deal with Putin behind our backs,” Kuleba said.
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 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, other parties to the talks say.
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 of talks. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declined to meet every single time, Kuleba said.
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