19:14 Oct. 18, 2016
Ukrainian President says he is not expecting a breakthrough from Normandy format meeting in Berlin
It is impossible to switch to the political package of Minsk agreements without two absolutely important components and strict sequence of events – withdrawal of Russian troops and release of hostages, Petro Poroshenko told journalists in Oslo today, answering the question of journalists about the elections in Donbas, presidential press service reports.
"This is what the agreements are all about. In no country of the world can the elections take place in the presence of foreign occupational troops," Petro Poroshenko noted.
"I cannot imagine how we can provide local elections in the presence of Russian troops. We already had such type of so-called elections in Crimea when 50 thousand Russian military were present in Crimea and organized so-called ‘referendum'. This is their understanding of democratic elections," the President added.
Petro Poroshenko emphasizes that the approval of the road map of the Minsk agreements implementation during tomorrow's meeting in the Normandy format is a common position of Ukraine, Germany and France, but he is not expecting too much.
"Yes, I am optimistic about the future of Ukraine. But, unfortunately, I am not so optimistic regarding tomorrow's meeting. However, I would be very pleased to be amazed," Petro Poroshenko said during the conversation with journalists in the course of the official visit to Norway answering the questions about tomorrow's meeting in the Normandy format.
Earlier today Kremlin finally confirmed participation of Russian president in Normandy Four summit for the four-way talks on peace in eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin has earlier repeatedly declined to confirm Putin's participation in the meeting on the crisis in Ukraine.
Last week, the Russian leader cancelled a visit to France also scheduled for Wednesday after Hollande said the Kremlin's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was unacceptable and that people in Aleppo were suffering "war crimes."