In an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, when asked what to expect from the upcoming Normandy Format summit and if there are new ideas on how to put an end to the war, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Prystaiko said: “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wants to achieve real progress over the next six months.”
However, he emphasized that a resolution cannot be achieved by handing over Ukrainian territories.
The Foreign Minister said that the West must continue to put pressure on Russia.
“Because we are no longer the Ukrainians whom Putin wanted to bring to our knees five years ago. The economic growth in the first half of the year was 4.6%. For Ukraine that’s a very impressive figure, even if we need a significantly faster growth rate. The West’s sanctions have given us time, and we have used it. Our army and economy are much stronger, they function better, and the social cohesion is much stronger, as it showed itself in the recent elections. These are the achievements we will operate on at the negotiation table,” the minister said.
President Zelensky is expecting to meet with the leaders of Germany, France and Russia in the Normandy Format, which could be held at the end of September or in October. He is also hoping for an “all for all” prisoner exchange, the separation of forces, and a deadline for the withdrawal of occupation forces.
Leonid Kuchma, former Ukrainian president and Ukraine’s representative at the Trilateral Contact Group, has expressed concern that the leaders of France and Germany will pressurize Zelensky to insist on concessions that are unacceptable to Russia.
US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker said recently that the West is willing to help Russia to find an “easy way to withdraw” from the Ukrainian territories it is occupying.