The messenger logo

Kremlin answers Zourabichvili on 'Normandy Format'

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Friday, December 27
The idea of talks between Russia and Georgia in the Normandy Format seems peculiar, as the format is linked to a very special situation, the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, Dimitri Novikov said.

According to Novikov, the problems between Russia and Georgia are related only to the 2 countries, and in the case of Russia-Ukraine the situation is different because the Normandy format used by the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics is particularly relevant for two reasons:

“Firstly because of the hostilities and secondly because the referendum on the recognition of the independence of the respective territories has been held, which the Ukrainian side cannot agree on and for the Russian side it is not possible to agree with such methods of dealing with the situation, where genocide of the population of these territories can be arranged," said Novikov.

According to the Russian lawmaker, Russia's disagreement with Ukraine is linked to the fact that large numbers of Russian citizens live in Donetsk and Lugansk regions and Russia is responsible for protecting them.

“These are two fundamentally different stories, two completely different situations. It seems to me that talking about the 'Normandy format' as used in Russian-Georgian relations seems to be mildly artificial,” added Novikov.

Russian President's spokesman Dimitri Peskov also responded to the Georgian President's initiative, saying the structure of the problems is different and each structure must have its format.

According to Peskov, the Normandy format is unique and it was created for the need to resolve the conflict in the south-east of Ukraine, which is Ukraine's internal conflict, and as for Georgia, there are talks about bilateral relations between Georgia and Russia.

"Here we are talking about bilateral relations between Russia and Georgia, which now leaves at least a better wish. This deterioration, as we know, was caused at the time by the very unfriendly policies and aggressive actions of the Georgian leadership,” said Peskov regarding the situation on Russia-occupied territories that have been tense since summer.

The President of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili said in the interview with the Georgian Public Broadcaster on December 24 speaking about the formats of talks with Russia, that everything in the world is changing and everyone is talking to everyone.

She said she would welcome the Normandy Format type of talks, if Georgia was represented with its partners, because we don’t have the power to negotiate alone, explaining that for the negotiation to be effective, we shouldn’t be in an unequal situation.

“Why is Ukraine using this format instead of direct relations?.”

“There may come a time when direct relationships are also needed, but we need to get started and if we can, it will be good. Again, I think we should look for every opportunity to resolve the situation," added the president.

The president emphasized that dialogue and negotiation do not mean giving up.

“The line is hard to come by and it's not easy. There should be red lines too and it is quite difficult. It is very easy to be as frustrated as we are,” said Zourabichvili.

The meeting of Normandy 4 was held in Paris on December 9, attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Ukrainian and Russian Presidents Vladimir Zelensky and Vladimir Putin. Leaders discussed numerous issues aimed at resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The parties agreed to meet again in 4 months.

After the 8-hour talks between the summit participants, the sides agreed to exchange the detainees between the separatist forces operating with the Ukrainian army and Russia, by the end of the year.