France Plans to Seek Progress Within Normandy Format on Ukrainian Issue, Macron Says

© REUTERS / SARAH MEYSSONNIERFrench President Emmanuel Macron attends a "prise d'armes" military ceremony at the Invalides in Paris, France, July 8, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier/Pool
French President Emmanuel Macron attends a prise d'armes military ceremony at the Invalides in Paris, France, July 8, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier/Pool - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.12.2021
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BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - France hopes to make progress within the Normandy format on the Ukrainian issue in the coming weeks and expects Russia to return to discussions, French President Emmanuel Macron said.
"[It is necessary] to return Russia to the political framework, only that will allow to settle the Ukrainian issue. This framework concerns the Minsk agreements in the Normandy format, which we discussed yesterday, and we would like to advance on this issue in the coming weeks," Macron said during a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz after an EU summit in Brussels.
Moscow has repeatedly stated that Kiev did not comply with the Minsk agreements and delayed negotiations on the conflict settlement. Tensions around Ukraine have been aggravated in the past several weeks by an alleged Russian troop buildup near the Ukrainian border and claims of preparations for an invasion. Moscow has repeatedly denied those accusations, pointing to NATO's military activity near Russian borders, which it deems a threat to its national security. Russia has also said it has the right to move forces within its own territory.
Earlier in December, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, said that the European leaders have called on Russia to start implementing the Minsk agreements.
The Normandy Format negotiations on the Ukrainian issue started in June 2014, and comprise France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine. The format's last summit was held in Paris on 9 December 2019.
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