Normandy, Take Two: Does the Format have a Chance for Reincarnation?


Ever since he assumed office last May, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been particularly vociferous about the need to revive the Normandy Four meetings. The format that had been in an impasse long enough for its efficacy to be put into permanent question, it seemed, at least in Zelensky’s perception, to be worth fighting for. Now, as protracted as preparations for the new meeting were, including due to heavy conditionality imposed by Russia, the President of Ukraine has finally achieved what he had been striving for so passionately.

An interesting thing about Zelensky’s presidency is that he is proving to be quite effective – so far – when it comes to consistently breaking deadlocks that have long been in place, including as part of the previous administration’s legacy. Only four months into his presidency and he has managed to negotiate an exchange of prisoners between Ukraine and Russia – a process that had been stalled for almost two years before that. A diplomatic success little anticipated from a statesman with no real experience in this sphere, he managed to demonstrate both his persistence and ability to negotiate.

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