MOSCOW (Reuters) – Political advisers from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany will hold “Normandy format” talks on eastern Ukraine in Paris on Jan. 25, a source in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration said on Saturday.
Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukraine’s chief negotiator Andriy Yermak, confirmed that a meeting in Paris was planned but told Reuters a preliminary date had been set for Jan. 26. The planned talks come amid elevated tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine. Western countries are concerned by a Russia military build-up on the border and have warned of severe economic consequences if it invades its neighbour. Russia denies it plans to invade Ukraine but is demanding legally binding security guarantees from the United States and NATO.
The four-way Normandy format peace talks are aimed at helping end a long-running conflict in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists. Relations between Russia and Ukraine collapsed in 2014 after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine and Moscow-backed forces seized territory in the Donbass region that Kyiv wants back.
Russia’s chief negotiator, Dmitry Kozak will take part in the talks from the Russian side, the source added. Kozak said earlier in January that the meeting would be held by the end of this month.