On Thursday May 10, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron met in the German city of Aachen. The key topics of the trilateral negotiations were sanctions against Russia, the implementation of the Minsk agreements, and the matter of peacekeepers in the Donbas.
At the meeting, the heads of state discussed the possibility of placing new sanctions on Russia for holding illegal elections in annexed Crimea.
“Obviously we spoke about the de-occupation [of Crimea] and the introduction of sanctions for the illegal holding of elections… We are coordinating actions, since the sanctions on the implementation of the Minsk agreements and the cessation of Russia’s aggression in the Donbas are inextricably linked to the package of sanctions for the illegal annexation of Crimea,” Poroshenko said at a briefing after the meeting.
Poroshenko also noted that he brought up the topic of the construction of the Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream 2. According to him, Russia is trying to use the new gas pipeline as an element of its hybrid war against Kyiv and Europe.
“We will do everything to convey an objective picture and not to allow Russia to use the Nord Stream as an element of hybrid war not only against Ukraine, but against all of Europe. I affirm that we will do everything that depends on us,” the Ukrainian president remarked.
The head of state believes that the construction of Nord Stream 2 constitutes “an extremely large danger not only to Ukraine, and not only financially”.
As expected, one of the key topics for the three presidents’ meeting was developments in the Donbas. The heads of state agreed to coordinate their actions with respect to the upcoming Normandy Format session, which will most likely be held in Paris.
“On the 18th and 23rd (of May) a meeting will take place with Putin, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron. We have clearly agreed on and coordinated the steps, the agenda, which we must take in order to hold a Normandy Format session soon. It will most likely take place in Paris,” Poroshenko said in this regard.
During the meeting, the presidents also discussed humanitarian matters, especially the problem of the hostages who are being held illegally in the occupied territories, as well as the Ukrainian soldiers and political prisoners who are being held illegally in Russia.
Poroshenko, Merkel and Macron discussed the roadmap for the implementation of the Minsk agreements with the necessary involvement of a UN peacekeeping mission. With regard to this, the Ukrainian president remarked that the security component of the Minsk agreements “is impossible to carry out without a full-fledged peacekeeping mission in the occupied Donbas”. He said that the leaders of Germany and France were in support of this position.
The topic of an Anti-Corruption Court, which Ukraine’s European partners insist must be created in Ukraine, was not brought up during the meeting.
“Why should it be discussed? It is already in parliament, and I am sure that parliament is able to support and accept the president’s bill that was put forward,” Poroshenko commented.