President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasizes that the most tangible results in promoting peace in Donbas can be achieved in direct negotiations between the leaders of the Normandy format member states.
"The path to peace is always thorny. But this is the path that both parties must take. Ukraine's activity in the process of negotiations has shown the whole world and, most importantly, the people of Donbas that we are interested in peace, and Russia is blocking the implementation of agreements," the President said.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that Ukraine is ready for a new stage of disengagement of troops and demining of new areas, as well as for the next round of mutual release of detainees.
The President stressed that despite the difficulties, for the first time during the war it was possible to establish a real ceasefire, which generally lasts from July 27, 2020. Due to this, dozens of lives of Ukrainian military and civilians were saved.
In addition, the Ukrainian authorities have made it easier for entrants from the temporarily occupied territories to enter universities and have built new modern checkpoints with administrative service centers on the delimitation line. According to the Head of State, in this way Ukraine is demonstrating to the civilians of Donbas on both sides of the line of delimitation that it is possible to achieve peace.
"Ukraine is able to win the battle for the emotions of the inhabitants of the temporarily occupied territory. We are doing very specific things that clearly demonstrate to all residents of Donetsk and Luhansk who cross the line of delimitation that Ukraine is much better than unrecognized, dysfunctional, self-proclaimed structures,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
Partners in the Normandy format note Ukraine's progress towards peace.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Germany to Ukraine Anka Feldhusen called the achievement of agreements on the establishment of ceasefire in Donbas the most important achievement of the last year's meeting of the leaders of the Normandy Four.
"This regime of silence has saved the lives of many soldiers and locals in eastern Ukraine. There was also an exchange of prisoners twice - this is also important," she said.
Among other achievements, the diplomat noted the opening of two new checkpoints "Shchastya" and "Zolote". At the same time, she expressed regret that the ORDLO representatives, for their part, refused to open these checkpoints.
"In my opinion, "Minsk" remains an unalterable format for the next, future good results. And the "Normandy Four": France, especially Germany, stand side by side with Ukraine in the struggle to overcome this conflict," Anka Feldhusen emphasized.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to Ukraine Etienne de Poncins focused on the progress in the issue of mutual release of detainees, which took place after the summit of leaders of the Normandy format in Paris, as well as the establishment of ceasefire in Donbas.
"At the same time, there is still a lot of work to be done at the level of presidents and heads of government, as well as at the level of diplomatic advisers who work in the appropriate format," Etienne de Poncins said.
He stressed that France, as a participant in the negotiations within the Normandy format, retains faith in the effectiveness of this negotiating platform. According to Etienne de Poncins, this format helps find a solution to restore peace in Donbas.
"President of France Emmanuel Macron and the teams working in Paris and at the embassy in Kyiv remain mobilized to achieve this goal," the French Ambassador to Ukraine said.