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The visit of the Ukrainian delegation to Germany was a symmetrical response to preserve the balance in the "Normandy format" against the background of V. Medvedchuk’s manipulations

On May 13, 2020, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Executive Office of the President of the Russian Federation and Special Representative for the Donbas, Dmitry Kozak flew to Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel's advisers. The main topic was the discussion of the settlement of the conflict in the Donbas. At the same time, representatives of France and Ukraine, which are also members of the Normandy Four, were not invited to the meeting. Russian media immediately reported that Germany invited a representative of the Russian Federation in order to "understand the line better" of Moscow in the negotiations on the settlement of the conflict in the Donbas.[1] There was no representative of Ukraine at this meeting, which caused questions in Ukraine or even indignation about whether this meeting violates the unwritten rule "nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine". This principle provides that negotiations with Moscow about the Donbas, Crimea, etc. can only take place with the participation of Ukraine or by agreeing on their content with Ukraine.[2] However, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba said that Ukraine knew in advance about the visit of the Kremlin's negotiator on the Donbas, Dmitry Kozak to Germany. He notes that the negotiations were not held "behind the Ukrainian back". According to Kuleba, the German side invited the Kozak to Berlin because of the lack of progress in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. Also, the reason for the negotiations was the change of the Ukrainian representation in the Trilateral Contact Group.[3]

Subsequently, on June 2, 2020, the Ukrainian delegation visited Berlin and held a meeting  with Minister of Defense of Germany, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. The Ukrainian delegation also included the head of the President's Office, Andriy Yermak and his Deputy, Igor Zhovkva. "On the agenda were the de-occupation of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and Crimea, Germany's support for reforms in Ukraine, in particular, medical reform, granting Ukraine the status of a participant in the NATO's Enhanced Capabilities Program, European integration of Ukraine during the German presidency in the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2020; historical issues: the prospect of recognition by the Bundestag of the Holodomor as a genocide of the Ukrainian people and the establishment of a monument to Ukrainians who died in World War II; trade and investment between states,"  Mr. Kuleba said.

Later, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, held talks with his German counterpart Heiko Maas. According to their results, the meeting of the leaders of the "Normandy Four" states to discuss the problems of settlement in the Donbas will take place after the normalization of the epidemic situation in the world. Dmytro Kuleba also said that Ukraine is ready to make compromises for the return of the occupied territories of Donbass and Crimea. In particular, the authorities are ready to discuss the issue of the special status of these territories within Ukraine. According to Kuleba, these regions can get a special status, but without the right to veto any national decisions. At the same time Ukraine insists on regaining control over its borders.[4]

Meanwhile, the head of the office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak met with the Foreign Policy Adviser to the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Jan Hecker. They talked in particular about the following:

1. On the release of detained persons: according to Andriy Yermak, two rounds of mutual release of detained persons under the agreed formula "all defined on all defined ", successfully implemented after the December meeting of the "Normandy Four";

2. On the cessation of shelling: Andriy Yermak stressed the importance of cessation of shelling as a basic condition for promoting the peace process;

3. On cooperation between Ukraine and the EU: the interlocutors discussed Ukraine's cooperation with the European Union. The Ukrainian side is counting on Germany's support for Ukraine's European integration aspirations during the upcoming German presidency in the EU Council from July 1.[5]

Also, the head of the President's Office, Andriy Yermak said that recognized representatives of the civil society of the Donbas, not militants, should be involved in negotiations to resolve the situation in the East. "If such representatives of the population are to be involved in the negotiation process, they should not be involved in military actions or killing of our soldiers, and they should not have anything common with separatist and terrorist organizations. This should be recognized by representatives of civil society," the head of the office of the President of Ukraine said.[6]

In turn, the chairman of the political council of the party "Opposition platform – For Life", MP Viktor Medvedchuk expressed his opinion on this issue, noting that Ukraine needs to conduct a direct dialogue with representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk to achieve a peaceful settlement of the situation in the Donbas. "The Minsk Agreements do not have what the Ukrainian authorities want today, including Mr. Yermak, who puts out a similar idea when representatives of the displaced people, representatives of the Donbass who live in Kyiv, that is, on the controlled territory, will represent the Donbass from the other side," he said. According to him, "if the parties do not agree to this, then, in fact, no one else will represent the interests of Donbas." Medvedchuk stressed that "our position regarding the Donbass and the peaceful settlement remains the same: we must implement the Minsk Agreements, we must conduct a direct dialogue with representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk, which is categorically negatively perceived by the current Kyiv authorities. This is a strategic mistake, and it means that this issue will not be solved, that is, there will be no Minsk settlement as such".[7]

Therefore, since Dmitry Kozak violated the code by his visit to Berlin and began selectively restoring relations with Germany, and the Office of the President of Ukraine decided to give feedback – the visit of the Ukrainian delegation became a symmetrical response for the sake of the balance of the "Normandy Format". Meanwhile, Viktor Medvedchuk launched an information war when he laid out the Kremlin's interpretation of the need to involve  representatives of the Donbas from the occupied territories.

However, intention of the Ukrainian side to increase the level of negotiations in the Tripartite Contact Group and to involve recognized representatives of Donbas civil society, as Andriy Yermak said, although it seems a creative step, but it will change nothing, since the settlement process depends on who occupied and controls this territory at the moment – Russia.


[1] За спиною України відбулися переговори щодо Донбасу: що обговорювали в Берліні та чи варто боятися "поступок" Росії:

[2] Про Донбас "без України": три погляди на візит у Берлін перемовника Путіна:

[3]Візит Козака до Німеччини: Навіщо кремлівський куратор Донбасу всупереч санкціям полетів до Берліна і що кажуть в Україні:

[4]Кулеба назвав компроміси щодо Донбасу, на які готова піти Україна:

[5]Кулеба та Єрмак вперше після візиту Козака побували в Берліні: про що домовились:

[6]Єрмак пояснив, кого з ОРДЛО мають залучити до переговорів щодо Донбасу:

[7]Медведчук про мирне врегулювання на Донбасі: Потрібно вести прямий діалог із представниками Донецька і Луганська: