01:47 GMT01 March 2021
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    Progress in settling the Ukrainian crisis could be reached within "several months" if all parties to the conflict stick to the Minsk agreements rather than trying to review or recreate them, French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday.

    PARIS, June 26 (Sputnik) — The French president said that the next talks in the Normandy format, which includes Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, would take place in late June or early July.

    "I think that today we need several months to succeed in the framework of [Minsk] agreements…Today the priority is not to know how to start from the scratch with another process, trying to redefine the basic principle, it is to know how we apply in the concrete manner the Minsk agreements which were recognized by a group of parties. The biggest challenge of today is the particular application [of the agreement]," Macron said after meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

    The French president pointed out that he was not accustomed to having discussions without achieving results, and as such suggested that certain "preconditions" could be negotiated before the next international meeting on Ukrainian crisis settlement begins.

    "In a very concrete way, what I have presented today to Mr. Poroshenko and what I will present to all the parties, and as I earlier told Vladimir Putin when he came to Versailles, is to put on the table a series of preconditions from all the parties in order to make the things progress, before the next exchange – for example, the retreat of all the forces from the proximity of the borders in return for international forces to secure them," Macron said.

    Ukraine launched a military operation in Donbass in April 2014, after local residents refused to recognize the new government in Kiev that they viewed as illegitimate. In February 2015, the warring parties to the conflict signed the Minsk peace agreements with Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine — the members of the Normandy Four — helping to negotiate the Donbass ceasefire. It has been, however, repeatedly breached, with the conflicting sides accusing each other of violating the ceasefire regime.


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