Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky admitted on Thursday that he had previously told German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron that the Minsk agreements were “impossible”, and he did not plan on implementing them.
Weeks before the Ukraine war broke out, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia was yet to hear Ukraine’s words about readiness to swiftly start the implementation of the Minsk agreements during the meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.
The Kremlin had previously said Russia did not expect any decisive breakthrough from the talks between President Putin and Macron.
“From what was said at the press conference [after Macron and Zelensky meeting], there were positive signals that a solution in Ukraine could only be based on the implementation of the Minsk agreements, which is true,” Peskov said.
“Economic risks that everyone faces. Because this tension is projected onto the situation both in the markets and on the stock exchanges of our country and others,” the spokesperson told reporters.
“As for Minsk as a whole, I told Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel: we will not be able to implement it like that,” Zelenskyy said in an interview with Spiegel published on Thursday.
According to Zelensky, he said the same thing to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the first and last meeting with him in the Normandy format in 2019.
“I told him the same thing as the other two. They were surprised and replied: ‘If we knew in advance that you would change the meaning of our meeting, then there would be problems even before the summit,'” Zelenskyy added.
The Ukrainian president said Kiev used the agreement only for the exchange of prisoners of war.
Ex-German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was in office from 2005 to 2021 said in an interview published in early December that the Minsk accords were signed to “give Ukraine time” to strengthen itself.
Merkel said “The 2014 Minsk agreement was an attempt to give time to Ukraine. It also used this time to become stronger as can be seen today. The Ukraine of 2014-2015 is not the modern Ukraine.”
According to her, “it was clear to everyone” that the conflict had been put on hold, noting that the issue had not been settled,
yet this was what gave Ukraine invaluable time.
Merkel was the German chancellor when Ukraine’s state coup happened in 2014, and the Minsk accords on resolving the Donbass war were signed with her contribution.
Previously, in an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, Merkel discussed her final encounters with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying that during the ex-chancellor’s farewell visit to Moscow in August 2021 she felt “in terms of power politics, you’re done,” adding that “for Putin, only power counts.”
She further explained that the fact that Putin brought Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov along with him to this final visit made it clear to Merkel that her power has crumbled, given the fact that in the past their meetings were “often in private.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said weeks later that Russia was hoping for peace agreements back when it signed the Minsk agreements in 2014, but it was fooled.
“We all endured, endured, endured and hoped for some kind of peace agreement, but now it turns out that we were simply fooled,” Putin told reporters.
“After the revelations of [ex-German Chancellor Angela] Merkel, [ex-Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko, and other politicians about the true goals of the Minsk agreements, it became obvious to everyone that Russia was not the source of the conflict in Ukraine,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also said.