President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has met with the leaders of France and Germany. At a diplomatic meeting in Paris, the latest escalation near the Ukrainian borders, the security situation in Donbas and the prospects of a Normandy Four summit were discussed. At a subsequent briefing, Zelenskyy provided some insight into the outcome of the meeting.
On Normandy Four meeting
He announced a Normandy Four meeting at the level of advisers on April 19: "A number of issues will be discussed. First of all, the clusters, which we mentioned a few months ago. The clusters are developed by the French and German sides. Now, with the input from Ukraine, it is also being considered by Russia. All four countries will prepare addenda for these clusters. Clusters are a step-by-step implementation of the "Minsk agreements". On April 19, the advisers will coordinate these positions. I want to believe that something will come of it.”
The Ukrainian leader added that after the meeting of advisers he expects the resumption of the ceasefire in Donbas.
The meeting of advisers was planned ahead of today's talks between Zelenskyy and Macron and Merkel, i.e. it is not the result of the current negotiations.
On Ukraine's accession to the EU
Zelenskyy invited the French president to sign a declaration in support of Ukraine's accession to the European Union.
"We have made a declaration, which we are concluding with partner countries, member states of the European Union. Each country signs a declaration with us, in which it supports Ukraine in its aspiration to be a member of the EU. I will tell you frankly that several countries have already signed this declaration. There are countries that are reading this declaration now. I revealed the details of this declaration and invited France to support Ukraine as well. I think that President Macron will read this declaration and give his response."
On NATO support
"As for France as a whole: we feel support for the NATO Membership Action Plan. I would like to hear the specifics of when this may be the case, but it depends not only on France, although it does play a major role in resolving this issue. There will be a NATO summit in June, and there we will definitely hear whether there is such a signal and from which specific countries," the Ukrainian leader said.
On Biden's proposal to meet with Putin
"I think it's right. This is very timely. In any issue, when there is such a dialogue… as the saying goes "cannons are silent". This could solve some issues. When such great powers do not speak, others suffer, and we understand that," Zelenskyy said.
What preceded this meeting?
The meeting of the leaders of France, Germany and Ukraine took place after the talks about Ukraine... without Ukraine went ahead on March 31 via teleconference. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the situation in Donbas with Russian President Vladimir Putin, although the meeting itself was previously initiated by the Ukrainian side.
Aggravation in eastern Ukraine
In recent weeks, many Ukrainian and Western officials have announced increased Russian military activity. This was stated by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Ruslan Khomchak, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense and President Zelenskyy.
Intelligence noted that Russia is preparing for movess that should provoke a military response from Ukraine on the demarcation line in the Donbas. Attempts by Russian occupation forces to advance deep into Ukraine are not ruled out either. The Kremlin says troops are being pulled up because of an alleged NATO threat.