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Russia has de facto left Minsk format - Ukraine delegate to TCG.

Russia has de facto withdrawn from the Minsk process of Donbas settlement without openly declaring this.

That’s according to Oleksandr Merezhko, Deputy Chair of the Ukrainian Delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), Chair of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Foreign Policy and Interparliamentary Cooperation, who spoke on the air of Dom TV, Ukrinform reports.

“Russia is acting very cynically and provocatively. On the one hand, Russia is not making an open statement that they are going to leave the Minsk process or the Normandy format. On the other hand, Russia has completely blocked the entire Minsk negotiation process and has no intention to follow the Minsk process. They claim they are not a party to the conflict, not a party to the Minsk agreements, and, in fact, are not going to implement them. This is a paradoxical situation,” Merezhko said.

Read also: Ukraine achieved necessary result in security talks with US, EU, NATO - Kuleba

The official opined that Russia would continue to refrain from openly declaring their withdrawal from the Minsk negotiation process, as this would “undermine the remnants of confidence in them on the part of Western partners.”

“Meanwhile, Russia keeps calling France and Germany their partners,” the deputy head of the Ukrainian delegation added.

In addition, he noted, Russia's exit from the Minsk process would mean new sanctions on the part of the West.

“That is, the sanctions that have already been imposed for the Crimea annexation attempt and the armed invasion of Donbas will remain in place. But new sanctions may emerge if Russia ultimately withdraws from the Minsk process,” Merezhko said.

However, according to the official, de facto Russia has already left the Minsk format.

“But they don’t make an open statement about it. On the contrary, Russia is trying to accuse Ukraine of disrupting the Minsk agreements. Although this is a total lie, our Western partners see and understand it perfectly, including the OSCE, which is a mediator in the process. They also see it all perfectly,” Merezhko stressed.

As reported earlier, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba told an online briefing on November 18 that Russia, with its latest actions, including the “leak” of confidential diplomatic correspondence, is "finishing" the Normandy format of talks and undermining what’s left of own credibility.

On November 17, the Russian Foreign Ministry published excerpts of confidential diplomatic correspondence of Russian Minister Sergei Lavrov with French and German Foreign Ministers – Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas.

Three Minsk Agreements were signed in the format of the Trilateral Contact Group between Ukraine, Russia, and the OSCE. At the same time, Russia has been insisting they are not a party to the Minsk agreements and that they have no obligations under them.

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