What did the Ukraine summit achieve?

Moscow and Kiev aim to achieve a complete ceasefire in eastern Ukraine by the end of the year. In addition, Putin and Zelensky agreed in Paris to a partial withdrawal of troops and a prisoner exchange. Another meeting in the Normandy format is scheduled to take place in March. Commentators are disappointed with the results of the summit.

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Strana (UA) /

War will continue even after Paris

News website strana.ua is pessimistic about the results of the Paris summit:

“The things that were achieved do not outweigh the things that weren't. That includes the following: 1. An agreement on the procedure for holding elections and the transfer of border controls (before or after the elections). 2. An agreement on a vision regarding special status. 3. An agreement on disengagement along the entire front. In plain terms, these three points mean that the war will continue because there will be no political solution and the armies are still face-to-face (and shooting at each other).”

Novoye Vremya (UA) /

No progress without a new agreement

The Minsk agreements need to be modified, writes Sergei Postolovski in Novoye Vremya:

“Merkel had said that 'against the backdrop of the presidential elections in Ukraine one can ask whether this agreement should be scrapped or brought to life'. We see that Chancellor Merkel is not opposed to a modification of the Minsk Agreement. Zelensky's statement that he disagrees with the version of the memorandum signed in Minsk on 12 February 2015 is also justified. The Western forces can exert pressure on Russia to revise the agreement and draw up a new document that reflects today's realities. Only a new document can pave the way for Ukraine to control the border.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

The Steinmeier formula is the catch

One passage in the final declaration could pose a problem for Kiev, warns the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

“Ukraine is to enshrine the so-called 'Steinmeier formula' in law. It states that the law dealing with a special status for the conflict zones in Ukraine will enter into force provisionally on the evening of the day when local elections take place there. And it is to be permanent from the moment the OSCE declares these elections free and fair. The Kremlin interprets this as an argument in favour of its position that the Ukrainian state may only return after elections in the territory of the 'people's republics'. ... And if the enforcement of the Steinmeier formula - which is contested domestically - is delayed in Ukraine, Moscow will happily point out that Kiev is not fulfilling its obligations.”

Ria Novosti (RU) /

Practically zero concrete results

Ria Novosti is not impressed with the results of the summit:

“There was no decision on holding elections in the DNR and LNR [the 'People's Republics' proclaimed by separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk]. Of course Kiev's dream of controlling the border didn't come true either. ... If you look at the results of the summit soberly, they are exactly what you would expect: practically nothing. As an anonymous representative of Kiev put it: 'They have agreed to continue to coordinate'. The final communiqué fully confirms this profound observation because it contains no point that would essentially advance the regulatory process in the Donbass.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Three in one blow for Putin

Only one person is benefiting from this peace process, Rzeczpospolita observes:

“If Putin's plan is successful - with the help of Berlin and Paris - he will achieve a triple victory. First, the eastern Ukrainian territories will go to Russia. Putin never had any plans to give up anything he took in 2014 anyway. Secondly, Russia will permanently bind Ukraine to itself by giving it the illusion of retaining influence in the Donbass. ... Kiev will have to forget Europe. Thirdly, 'the solution to the Ukrainian question' will give Putin the opportunity to reconcile with the West. Like a lost son, he will return to the salons of the G8 and regain his special status in relations with selected leaders and powers.”

The Independent (GB) /

No appeasement policy, please

The Independent warns against making concessions to Moscow:

“France and Germany should explicitly recognise that elections cannot be held in the occupied Donbass territories until Ukraine regains control over the full length of its state border, and until illegal armed groups are disarmed. Crucially, there should be no question of lifting sanctions or re-engaging politically with Russia (including in the G7/G8 format), until Putin has met his side of the bargain. ... History will not judge Macron or Merkel kindly if they act like the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and proudly declare 'peace for our time', only for there to be further hostilities.”