Putin and Zelensky had a telephone conversation

Volodymyr Putin and Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed over the phone the preparation for the next meeting of the leaders of the “Norman four”, the office of the Ukrainian president said.

The leaders noted the need to activate the contact group on Donbass in Minsk.

In addition, the presidents agreed that the emphasis should be placed on prisoner exchange.
The “Normandy Quartet” is a group of leaders from Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France, looking for ways to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine. In 2015-2016, the parties came to an agreement on the line of demarcation and withdrawal of weapons and prepared a meeting in Minsk, which led to the signing of the Minsk agreements.

At the last summit in Paris, held on December 9, 2019, participants adopted a communiqué emphasizing that the Minsk agreements remain the basis for work. Kiev, Donetsk and Luhansk made a commitment:

-division of forces on three new sections of the line of contact;
-open new checkpoints;
-progress in mine clearance;
– to carry out an exchange of persons held;
– enshrine the “Steinmeier formula” in Ukrainian legislation;
-agree on all legal aspects of the special status of Donbass to ensure its permanent validity.

So far, only the exchange of persons in custody has taken place from this list. Moscow has repeatedly stressed that Kiev is evading its obligations, while Russia’s agreement on the next meeting depends on it.