As Ukraine prepares for the next round of Normandy talks, expected to take place next week, the ex-president Leonid Kuchma commented on the idea of changing the Normandy format – as he took part in the international forum in Kyiv on Thursday.
‘Let’s take a look on the post-Soviet conflicts. In 1992, an international contact group was created to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Nine countries joined the group; so what? Did anything change? It doesn’t work because people often offer to change the negotiation format; ‘hey, let’s add someone else to the group to make it more effective’, they say. That doesn’t actually change things. What I’m saying is that in this situation (Donbas conflict, - 112 International). there’s only one man everything depends on, and that’s Putin. Does he really want to change things? No. Do Europeans have their own ways to make him go for such positive changes? Yes, the trade sanctions; of course, they create certain problems for Russia. But, on the other hand, they make Russians research and develop technologies of energy substitution. If I can’t buy something in Europe, I’ll use my brains to find another option. And Russians do have brains, of course,’ Kuchma said.
According to the ex-president, international security guarantees are failing, including those for Ukraine.
‘Let’s remember how it was with the Budapest memorandum. Leaders of the USA, the United Kingdom, Russia, France and China signed the deal. Well, what else do you need? The paper says it all, and they allegedly guarantee us a lot of things… Again, the line-up or the number of participants doesn’t make any difference; there’s only one major player who calls the shots. When the UN Security Council votes for Ukraine and supports Ukraine, Russia opposes the decision. So, the system of guarantees simply doesn’t work,’ Kuchma said.
Yesterday, commenting on his visit in the U.S., Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said his country does not support the idea to change either Minsk or Normandy format of the peace negotiations to solve the Donbas conflict.