The war continues on Ukrainian territory, so Ukraine is most interested in holding the next summit in the Normandy format at the highest level as soon as possible. Our partners - Germany and France - support us in this, as stated by Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak during a speech at the Royal Institute of International Affairs Chatham House.
"Ukraine's strategy is very simple - for us the life of every Ukrainian is a priority. This is the program position of President Zelenskyy, which was voiced by him during the election campaign and which remains his priority and the priority of our entire team," Andriy Yermak said.
The Head of the Office of the President stressed that due to the agreements reached at the TCG level and reaffirmed at the meeting of advisors to the leaders of the Normandy format, the frontline in eastern Ukraine has been silent for more than 70 days.
He noted that almost every two weeks the President of Ukraine visits the positions of the Ukrainian troops on the frontline and personally communicates with the military.
"Indeed, Ukraine is at war today, and it is very important for us to be careful and balanced in order to advance Ukraine's interests in real life, use all possible platforms for negotiations, and reduce tensions. And in the end, all this is done to save the lives of our people," Andriy Yermak said.
The Head of the Office of the President noted that today Ukraine fully implements the agreements reached at the Summit of the "Normandy Four" in Paris, and our international partners see this.
"Today, no country that supports Ukraine has any doubt that something has not been done or fulfilled by us," Andriy Yermak added.
According to him, Russia must also fulfill the previously reached agreements.
"Either Russia is really ready to end this war, or it must say that it is not ready for this," the Head of the President's Office emphasized.
Andriy Yermak reminded that the negotiation process in the Normandy and Minsk formats is underway. According to him, since the previous December Summit of the leaders of the "Normandy Four" in Paris, four new areas of disengagement of forces and assets on the delimitation line have been agreed, 20 demining sites have been practically agreed. It was also agreed that representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross would have access to places of illegal detention of persons in the territories not controlled by the Ukrainian authorities, however this agreement has not yet been fulfilled.
"Unfortunately, mutual release has not taken place for several months now precisely because the opposite party does not agree on the lists. There are always some obstacles for this. Now they say that they are allegedly hindered in this by the decision of the Verkhovna Rada on local elections. But we keep emphasizing that this is nonsense: how can a humanitarian issue like people's lives and health depend on a document?" he noted.
According to Andriy Yermak, Ukraine most actively insists on holding the next meeting of the leaders of the "Normandy Four". After all, the war continues on Ukrainian territory, and all political decisions are made only at the level of leaders.
"Such a meeting should take place as soon as possible. We are backed in this by our partners in the Normandy format - Germany and France. And we believe that this is extremely necessary in order to move forward and do what all the Ukrainian people strive for so much," the Head of the President's Office said.
"Therefore, negotiations are ongoing. Next week, we may have a video conference of political advisors. And we will talk about holding the summit as soon as possible in order to already have some decisions," Andriy Yermak added.