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  •  Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko attends a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine October 10, 2019.

    Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko attends a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine October 10, 2019. | Photo: UNIAN

Published 19 November 2019

The summit will be the first time the leaders of the four countries have met in more than three years and will follow a series of confidence-building measures by Kiev and Moscow.

Ukraine is ready to accept a “reasonable compromise” at a four-way summit which will involve France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine in Paris on Dec. 9 to discuss ways to resolve the wider conflict in eastern Ukraine, Foreign Affairs Minister Vadym Prystaiko said Tuesday.

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“We are going to the Normandy meeting with open ideas, an open mind, ready to accept a reasonable compromise,” Prystaiko told reporters at a meeting with his German counterpart Heiko Maas.

As the two ministers held preparatory talks in Kiev, the German diplomat stressed that "people need a cease-fire and one that actually deserves its name.”

Maas said Germany and France would do everything to help reach a permanent solution to the conflict and added that “from our point of view it’s time for Russia to step up to the plate” to help end the conflict.

The summit will be the first time the leaders of the four countries have met in more than three years and will follow a series of confidence-building measures by Kiev and Moscow, including a prisoner swap and phased troop withdrawals.

On Monday Russia returned three captured naval ships to Ukraine "in accordance with agreements concluded with the Ukrainian side,” Russian news agencies cited Crimea’s border guard service.

As part of a lengthy and carefully-negotiated rapprochement that is considered a “first step” to mend the relations between Kiev and Moscow, back in September, 35 prisoners were swapped, including 24 Ukrainian sailors taken prisoner at the time.

After the prisoner exchange, both Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky agreed that the swap is an important step to mending ties between the two countries. 

Both leaders have considered the prospects of solving the crisis inside Ukraine and putting an end to the lengthy conflict between Kiev and the breakaway Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Relations between Russia and Ukraine soured after the Autonomous Republic of Crimea held a referendum on March 16, 2014, to consult its population about the entry of its territory into the Russian Federation. 

This popular consultation, which the Crimean Parliament approved on Feb. 27, authorized the members of the Supreme Council of Crimea to separate Crimea from Ukraine. Sevastopol, which had a different political status, also held its referendum and decided to join Russia.

Later, both Crimea and Sevastopol declared their independence on March 11 and formed the Republic of Crimea, a decision which the Crimean Parliament took by majority too. Soon after the separatist eastern governments of Donetsk and Lugansk declared independence as well, initiating a five-year-old conflict with Kiev. 

Nevertheless, the U.S. and other Western countries ignored the Crimean people’s will, arguing that the referendum results were illegal according to the 1998 Ukrainian Constitution, which allowed the Ukrainian parliament to veto any legislation passed by the Crimean parliament. 

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