Ukraine and the Normandy Four Meeting
Key Takeaway: The West is drifting toward empowering Vladimir Putin as he continues the illegal Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Putin’s priority in the December 9 Normandy Four talks with Ukraine, France, and Germany is not peace in Ukraine. Putin is positioning Russia to regain control of Ukraine’s decision-making, legitimize a revanchist foreign policy, and remove international constraints on his ambitions. Putin seeks to secure a renewed, exploitative gas deal with Ukraine and the legitimization of Russia’s proxies from the upcoming meeting. The West must ensure that Russia does not pressure Ukraine into compromising its sovereignty by conceding on either Donbas, where Russia is waging war, or Ukrainian energy independence. Putin’s success in Ukraine would not only put the future of Europe at risk – it would also empower Putin to accelerate his global campaigns.
Russia has waged war on Ukraine since 2014. Russia, in concert with its proxies, continues its illegal occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula and of territory in Ukraine’s Donbas region. The leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany are expected to meet in Paris on November 9 regarding the conflict in Ukraine. Representatives from this group – the Normandy Four – have met on a number of occasions since 2014 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The talks stalled after the Normandy Four last met in 2016 as Russian-controlled forces continued to violate the ceasefire and the Kremlin continued to demand the legitimization of its proxies.