Public Affairs Networking
13/04 – “Normandy format” meets again to discuss Ukraine

Several media outlets report that the foreign affairs ministers of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France are to meet today in Berlin to discuss finding a more durable peace deal in Ukraine. reports that the results of this meeting will be discussed at the G7 summit on 14 April. In an interview with Die Welt, German Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier says he plans to exclude Russian President Vladimir Putin from the upcoming G7 meeting, but warned against isolating Russia permanently. Mr Steinmeier argues that Germany has taken on great responsibility in the Ukraine conflict, and adds that the Minsk agreement is an important step towards a political solution.

In Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, Roland Freudenstein from the European Studies Centre does not expect any weakening of sanctions against Russia until the terms of the Minsk II accord are fulfilled. He considers the “Normandy format” in talks with Russia to be working, and claims that Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Council President Donald Tusk are very sensible in their dealings with Russia.

Interviewed on France Inter, UMP deputy Bruno Le Maire said that Europe needs to continue to slap sanctions on Russia because “firmness is the only way to get what we want with Vladimir Putin.” He said that the only aim of the Russian president is to “destabilise the EU,” by pitting European leaders against one another, by not respecting the Minsk II agreements and by trying to divide France and Germany.

Trouw also says that Putin is looking to drive a wedge between the EU member states: over the past few months, he has met with political leaders from Greece, Italy, Cyprus and Hungary, which are all countries which could depend on Russia’s economic support in the future and have had communist ties with the country in the past.

Meanwhile, The WSJE reveals that Ukrainian officials have called for peacekeepers under UN or EU leadership, but the idea has been opposed by Russia. According to Magyar Nemzet, an unnamed NATO official said that Russia still provides military assistance to eastern Ukrainian rebels. The newspaper as well as Slovenian STA and Croatian Jutarnji List report that Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden signed an agreement in order to step up military cooperation in the face of the changed Russian shift of emphasis. The statement is being published as an editorial in major newspapers in all Nordic countries, and claims that “Russia’s actions are the greatest threat to European security”.


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