Kiev: US presence in the Norman format would benefit Ukraine, ex-US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said in an interview with former Deputy Minister of Economic Development of Ukraine Natalya Mikolskaya for the project of the magazine Brilliant Minds. A fragment of an interview with NV was published on September 24.
“I didn’t like the fact that we were not in Minsk and in the Norman format. I think it didn’t benefit Ukraine. In my opinion, the US presence there would have shifted the balance of power in this format towards Ukraine. Therefore, in general, I support it, but so far I am concerned that we are not involved in the affairs of Ukraine. So this is a dilemma", - said McFaul.
He added that "in general, the United States is better to be in the Norman format than not".
In 2014, immediately after the annexation of Crimea, Russia launched armed aggression in eastern Ukraine. Fighting is conducted between the Armed forces of Ukraine, on the one hand, and the Russian army and Russian-backed militants, who control part of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, on the other. Officially, the Russian Federation does not recognize its invasion of Ukraine, despite the facts and evidence presented by Ukraine.
Negotiations on the settlement of the conflict in the Donbass are conducted in a tripartite contact group in Minsk (Ukraine, Russia, OSCE), as well as in the Norman format, with the participation of representatives of Ukraine, France, Germany and Russia. The heads of state of the Norman format met for the last time on October 19, 2016 in Berlin.
In a telephone conversation on September 7, 2019, President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin agreed to discuss the date of the meeting in the Norman format in the near future. On September 9, the head of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said that France favors a meeting of the "Norman Four" held in the coming days in Paris. On September 12, the President of Ukraine said that the date for the meeting of leaders of the Norman-format countries has not yet been determined.
In his election program, Zelensky announced his intention to invite the United Kingdom and the United States into the Norman format. US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Walker said, that if Ukraine asks, America will join in the negotiations.
Assistant Ukrainian President Andrei Yermak, said in an interview, published on September 23, that Ukraine has not yet formally invited the United States and Great Britain to join the Norman format.