Kuchma: Russia's stance cab be obstacle to expansion of Normandy format
Russia's stance can be an obstacle in the way to expanding of the Normandy format, Ukraine's representative to the Trilateral Contact Group for Donbas, second Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, has said.
"When they're asking questions on the Budapest format, as to why the U.S. doesn't participate, it should be clear whether other countries wish to take part in this process," he told reporters in Kyiv on Friday.
"Because if you ask Petro Poroshenko whether he would like the U.S. to take part, [the answer will be] 100% 'yes,'" Kuchma said. "But you also have to pose the question before Vladimir Putin, asking him if he wants the U.S. to participate in this format. In my opinion, this is definitely 'no.' And you should ask Obama if he would like to participate in the format. The American side didn't have the desire either. Well, the American side was involved in these processes, in a not quite publicized way, though," he said.
Kuchma emphasized that the Ukrainian side would like to have a broad format of the talks on Donbas. However, the number of participants does not change everything in the format of the talks, he said.
The Donbas settlement is for the most part dependent on the Russian side, Kuchma added.
Germany and France, the countries participating in the Normandy format, have not enough strength to influence Russia, Kuchma said.
"We should not make-believe, building [air] castles, that if we have some more countries added to the Normandy format, then everything will be solved. No, it won't. We have to look closer," Kuchma said.