The President of Ukraine succeeded to avoid a number of traps and risks posed by the Normandy Four meeting and even achieved a few tactical wins during the talks – according to Ukrainian and Western experts.
President Zelensky managed to clearly affirm the position of Ukraine during the joint press-conference in Paris. He clearly stated that Crimea is Ukrainian and that Ukraine will not have any negotiations with the proxy « republics ».
Despite different understanding of the Donbas conflict resolution that Ukraine and Russia have, the parties managed to agree several tactical steps to contribute to de-escalation and to continue the talks.
To be brief, the parties have agreed to take the following steps:
- Prisoners swap by the end of the year.
- Disengagement of troops in three additional sites before March 2020.
- Expanding OSCE SMM’s mandate.
- Full ceasefire implemented by the end of the year.
However, there are some issues the consensus haven’t been reached on:
- Ukraine regaining control over the state border.
- Holding local elections in Donbas.
It was also concluded that the four leaders will hold another meeting in the Normandy format within four months « as regards political and security conditions, inter alia, to organize local elections ».