Media: Donbass summit to be held without Russia

In May in Aachen, a city in the west of Germany, a summit of the leaders of the FRG, France and Ukraine can be held, dedicated to the deployment of UN peacekeepers in Donbass, informed sources in Kiev have told Kommersant. In fact, it is a meeting in the "Normandy format" with the exception of one of its participants - the Russian president. However, a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry told Kommersant that Moscow has nothing against such kind of meetings, since the issue of peacekeepers is being solved in a completely different place.

According to Ukrainian sources, the main topic on the agenda of the tripartite summit to be held in May in the city of Aachen will be the situation in the southeast of Ukraine and the possibility of deploying the "blue helmets" of the United Nations in Donbass.

An informed source close to the presidential administration told Kommersant, the preparatory work for the trilateral summit in Aachen should be held during the visit to Berlin of Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko on April 10 and his talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Since 2014, several meetings and telephone conversations of the leaders of the three countries have taken place, however, since the coming to power in France of Emmanuel Macron (in May 2017), there have been no contacts in this format.

Presumably, the meeting will be held "on the sidelines" of the traditional ceremony of presenting the prestigious International Charlemagne Prize - the Aachen- born ruler of the Frankish Empire. Awarding the winners, which the special committee chooses, is held annually in May, and Pyotr Poroshenko not for the first time goes to Aachen to congratulate the winners of the award and meet with European leaders. As reported on the website of the organizing committee of the award, this year French President Emmanuelle Macron will receive the prize "for the contribution to the unification of Europe".

"Considering that in a year, on March 31, 2019, the election of the Head of State will take place, it is important for the president to show voters at least some specific results in the matter of reconciliation in the southeast of the country," the deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine from the Bloc of Pyotr Poroshenko (BPP), Alexander Chernenko, said. "It is therefore not surprising that he tries to use all international formats, first and foremost the Normandy one, to achieve this goal."

The interlocutor of Kommersant, close to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, believes that the "stripped down Normandy format" at the summit in Aachen does not at all mean that decisions on Donbass will be taken bypassing and without Moscow's knowledge.

"Because of Sergey Skripal's case, an extremely unfavorable emotional background has emerged in Russia's relations with the West. Therefore, it is not possible to hold a full-fledged quadrilateral summit. However, I do not think that its preparation will take place without the knowledge of the Kremlin. Moreover, French President Emmanuel Macron, who is also going to visit Moscow and St. Petersburg in May, is likely to discuss with Vladimir Putin the theme of peacekeepers in Donbass," the Ukrainian diplomat told Kommersant.

A source in the Russian Foreign Ministry told Kommersant that Moscow does not object to contacts in such a format.

"We do not have anything against this kind of meetings," Kommersant's source said. "Let them gather. But they must understand that the issue of peacekeepers in Donbass will be decided not in Aachen, but in the UN Security Council. Without the Security Council's decision, peacekeepers will not appear there."

DONi News Agency