Russia has indicated it is ready to open the so-called ‘Normandy’ negotiation format over the crisis in eastern Ukraine to the United States, which appears to be a major shift in relations between Moscow and Washington after the election of Donald Trump.
The so-called ‘Normandy format’ was set up after French President François Hollande gathered the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and host country France around one table, on the 70th anniversary of the Allied D-Day landings that helped turn the tide during World War Two.
A series of meetings in this format were held, notably those that produced the Minsk agreements (see background).
France and Germany have taken a cautious stance to expanding the Normandy format, while Moscow has never refused to discuss the situation, Russia’s ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov told the Rossiya 24 TV channel yesterday (2 March).
He noted that the idea of expanding the Normandy format is not something entirely new.
“Paris and Berlin are jealous about it,” he noted. “Russia has never refused to discuss the situation in Ukraine, including with the United States.”
The EU is excluded from the Normandy format, largely because of the hawkish positions of some members states, including Poland.
— RussianMissionEU (@RusMission_EU) March 2, 2017