Foreign ministers of the Normandy Four seek to break deadlock in Ukraine peace process

Foreign ministers of the Normandy Four seek to break deadlock in Ukraine peace process

The Normandy Four­­—Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France—will meet in Berlin today to relaunch conflict resolution talks between Moscow and Kiev.

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Photo: Reuters

The Normandy Four­­—Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France—will meet in Berlin today to relaunch conflict resolution talks between Moscow and Kiev over the Ukrainian Crisis.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has identified four issues for today’s agenda: a swap of captured Russian Spies for Ukrainian Prisoners being held in Russia; the resumption of the 2015 Minsk Agreements; a ceasefire; and peacekeeping missions in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Peacekeeping missions have found renewed support after Russia joined the other Normandy members in supporting a UN Peacekeeping operation in 2017.

Russia’s cooperation with proposed dispute resolution measures will make or break the peace process – and it’s unlikely that this meeting will see support for all proposed endeavours. The potential for a prisoner swap was raised in a rare phone call between the two leaders on Saturday, but Putin urged yesterday, that it was too “premature” to speculate how the issue might be resolved.

This Normandy meeting is different. Moscow now supports at least a limited UN Peacekeeping force, which offers a tangible way to diffuse the crisis – but if history has any lessons to offer, it is unlikely that a ceasefire or the Minsk Agreement will be successful.