Ukraine, Germany and France will hold a summit devoted to the matter of deploying peacekeepers in the Donbas, the newspaper Kommersant reports, citing sources in Ukraine’s presidential administration. Russia has not been invited to the summit.
The event will be modeled after the Normandy Format, and will involve the heads of state. However, Vladimir Putin will not participate in the event. The meeting of the leaders of Germany, France and Ukraine is scheduled to take place in May in the German city of Aachen. During this time, the award ceremony for the International Charlemagne Prize will be held in Aakhen. This year the award will be given to French President Emmanuel Macron, who will arrive in Aakhen at the same time as Poroshenko. During Poroshenko’s visit to Germany on April 10, preparation will be done for this meeting.
A source in Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that Russia will not oppose the format of such meetings, but that the final decision must be made by the UN Security Council. “Without the Security Council’s ruling, there will be no peacekeepers there,” the source emphasized.
For the leaders of Germany, France and Ukraine to hold a summit on the deployment of UN peacekeepers in the Donbas is these countries’ right, although this is unlikely to assist in resolving the matter, first deputy chairman of the Federation Council international affairs committee Vladimir Dzhabarov told RBC news agency. “It is their right, we cannot prohibit them from holding such meetings. I still think that they will not be able to discuss such matters without Russia,” he remarked. Dzhabarov believes that Germany and France will have well-balanced positions on the matter, and that Ukraine will have calmer dialog without Russia present.
The Normandy Format’s most recent statement was published on March 29. In it Putin, Poroshenko, Macron and Merkel welcomed conditions for establishing an “Easter truce” in eastern Ukraine, and called for an intensification of efforts to exchange prisoners. Shortly after the statement was published, Poroshenko said that a truce is a key condition for the introduction of peacekeepers in the region. He referred to the peacekeepers as “blessed envoys of God”, whose actions would lead to “Russian troops leaving Ukraine’s territory”. The Ukrainian leader also said that Macron and Merkel pressurized Putin to agree to the call for a ceasefire in the Donbas.
The Easter truce was supposed to come into effect on the night before March 30. However, both sides claimed that the ceasefire was broken. As the TV channel 112 Ukraine reported, on March 30 the self-declared republics opened fire 32 times, leading to the death of one Ukrainian soldier and another four being wounded.