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Normandy Format

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Meeting in the "Normandy Format", Paris, 9 December 2019

The Normandy Format (French: Format Normandie), also known as the Normandy contact group, is a grouping of states who met in an effort to resolve the war in Donbas and the wider Russo-Ukrainian War. The four countries who make up the group—Germany, Russia, Ukraine, and France—first met informally in 2014 during the 70th anniversary of D-Day celebrations in Normandy, France.[1]


The Normandy Format was predated by the Joint Geneva Statement (Agreement), signed by Ukraine, Russia, the European Union, and the United States in April 2014. As Paul D'Anieri writes, "In Russia’s interpretation, it committed the Ukrainian government to refraining from the use of force against the separatists. Second, it intervened in Ukraine’s constitutional process, where Russia strongly supported decentralization. Third, it dealt with the crisis as an internal Ukrainian conflict – Russia itself took on no obligations."[2]

Creation and composition[edit]

The group was created on 6 June 2014, when leaders from France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine met on the margins of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day allied landings in Normandy.[3] The group, compared to the previous Geneva process, has not included the United States. This development was in Russia's favor and helped to "cleave off" the EU from the US.[2] The format operates mainly through telephone calls between the leaders and foreign ministers. The Normandy Format has at times been expanded to include Belarus, Italy, and the United Kingdom.[4][5]



Early talks in 2014 led to the establishment of the Trilateral Contact Group in order to facilitate further talks between Russia and Ukraine. This, along with mediation through the Normandy Format, directly led to the establishment of Minsk Protocol.[6] This agreement, signed in September 2014, outlined several provisions for peace in the Donbas Region and Crimea.


Following a continued break-down of relations in early 2015, the Normandy Format met during talks in Belarus from 11 to 12 February 2015. This was precipitated by a joint French-Germany diplomatic plan, which was negotiated overnight for over sixteen hours while the group met in Minsk.[7][8][9] The emerging package, Minsk II, negotiated ceasefires as well as planned domestic reforms in Ukraine.[10]

Negotiations and talks were stalled from 2016 until autumn 2019.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in his May 2019 inaugural address made peace talks with Russia his top priority. He reaffirmed that priority in July that year when he invited via YouTube the other nations to a dialogue. He said: "Let's discuss who Crimea belongs to and who isn't in the Donbas region."[11]

On 18 July 2019, a "comprehensive" cease-fire was agreed with arbitration by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine.[12]

In early September 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin stated their intention to hold a Normandy format meeting.[13] On 21 September, "continuing bickering" was cited as causing "a political tug-of-war" over the preliminaries to negotiations, as they had been since the Normandy Format meeting in 2016 in Berlin.[14] Also in late September, a phone call between US President Donald Trump and Zelenskyy in which the latter described the support of France and Germany as lukewarm damaged Zelenskyy's image in Europe.[15][16][17] On 10 October, Zelenskyy repeated his statement in a public news conference.[18] On 16 October, French and German leaders decided in favour of another Normandy Format meeting.[19]


A Normandy Format meeting between the four countries' representatives was held in Paris on 26 January 2022 in the context of the escalation of tensions on the Russo-Ukrainian border, to be followed by a telephone conversation between the French and Russian presidents on 28 January.[20][21] The representatives of the four governments confirmed their support for Minsk II and committed themselves to resolving existing disagreements. They supported an unconditional ceasefire, and supported strengthening of the 22 July 2020 ceasefire, independent of their disagreements about implementing other components of Minsk II. A followup meeting was planned to take place in Berlin a fortnight later.[22] No joint declaration was agreed upon at the conclusion of the nine-hour-long Normandy Format meeting held on 10 February, but the representatives planned to meet again in March.[23][24][25] This meeting never occurred after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February. Zelenskyy later announced that the Normandy Format was "destroyed" due to Russia's actions.[26] France and Germany continue to be involved in peace negotiations between the two countries, while also providing support to Ukraine and denouncing Russia.

Country leaders[edit]






The first six meetings were held from 2014 to 2019.[27]

  1. France Château de Bénouville, Bénouville, Normandy, France — 6 June 2014 — the first meeting in celebration of the 70th anniversary of Operation Overlord
  2. Italy Milan, Italy — 16–17 October 2014 — as part of Asia–Europe Meeting[4]
  3. Belarus Minsk, Belarus — 11–12 February 2015 — Minsk II was signed
  4. France Paris, France — 2 October 2015
  5. Germany Berlin, Germany — 19 October 2016
  6. France Paris, France — 9 December 2019
  7. France Paris, France — 26 January 2022[20][21][22]
  8. Germany Berlin, Germany — 10 February 2022[22][25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Russia's Putin says supports future Normandy format talks on Ukraine". news.trust.org. Thomson Reuters Foundation. 5 September 2016. Archived from the original on 6 September 2016. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b D'Anieri, Paul (2023-03-23). Ukraine and Russia: From Civilized Divorce to Uncivil War. Cambridge University Press. pp. 229, 237, 238. ISBN 978-1-009-31552-4.
  3. ^ de Galbert, Simond (2015-10-23). "The Impact of the Normandy Format on the Conflict in Ukraine: Four Leaders, Three Cease-fires, and Two Summits". Center for Strategic and International Studies. Archived from the original on 2022-01-27. Retrieved 2022-02-04.
  4. ^ a b "Accepting joint responsibility". bundesregierung.de. German government. 17 October 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  5. ^ "Kremlin confirms telephone conference between Putin, Merkel, Hollande and Cameron - Vestnik Kavkaza". vestnikkavkaza.net. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2017-06-30.
  6. ^ Lohsen, Andrew; Morcos, Pierre (9 February 2022). "Understanding the Normandy Format and Its Relation to the Current Standoff with Russia". www.csis.org. Retrieved 2022-04-16.
  7. ^ "Ukraine crisis: 'Last chance' for peace says Hollande". BBC News. 7 February 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  8. ^ "'Glimmer of hope' for Ukraine after deal at Minsk peace summit". Reuters. 12 February 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  9. ^ Hudson, Alexandra; Madeline Chambers (12 February 2015). "German foreign minister: Minsk deal not all we would have wished for". Yahoo News. Reuters. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  10. ^ Ostroukh, Andrey; Gregory L. White; Julian E. Barnes (12 February 2015). "Ukraine Peace Talks Yield Cease-Fire Deal". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  11. ^ "Ukraine's Zelenskiy proposes peace talks with Putin". dw.com. 8 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Russia, Ukraine Agree 'Comprehensive' Cease-Fire in Donbass". The Moscow Times. 18 July 2019.
  13. ^ "Next Normandy summit to be held in Paris "in the next few weeks" : Elysee". Xinhua. 9 September 2019. Archived from the original on 2021-11-17.
  14. ^ "Ukraine summit in Paris delayed amid continued bickering". dw.com. 21 September 2019.
  15. ^ "For Ukraine's leader, Trump memo on their call is a diplomatic car crash". Reuters. 25 September 2019.
  16. ^ "What does Germany do for Ukraine?". dw.com. 2019-09-26.
  17. ^ "Why Zelenskiy Joined Trump in Trashing Germany". Bloomberg. 27 September 2019.
  18. ^ "Ukraine's Zelenskiy sticks to criticism of Merkel, Macron in Trump call". dw.com. 10 October 2019.
  19. ^ "Conférence de presse conjointe d'Angela Merkel et Emmanuel Macron à Toulouse". euronews. 16 October 2016. Event occurs at 11:35 onwards.
  20. ^ a b "Political advisers to hold four-way talks on Ukraine in Paris". Thomson Reuters. 2022-01-22. Archived from the original on 2022-01-24. Retrieved 2022-01-25.
  21. ^ a b "Scholz, Macron say diplomacy can fix Ukraine-Russia standoff". Deutsche Welle. 2022-01-25. Archived from the original on 2022-01-25. Retrieved 2022-01-25.
  22. ^ a b c "Declaration of the advisors to the N4 Heads of States and Governments". President of France. 2022-01-26. Archived from the original on 2022-01-27. Retrieved 2022-01-27.
  23. ^ Cameron, David R. (11 February 2022). "After flurry of high-level diplomacy and another long Normandy format meeting, threat of war in Ukraine continues". Yale MacMillan Center. Yale University. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  24. ^ Gittleson, Ben (11 February 2022). "Biden, Putin to speak as US says Russia could invade Ukraine during Olympics". ABC News. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  25. ^ a b "'Difficult' four-way Ukraine talks to resume in March". The Times of India. Berlin, Germany. Agence France-Presse. 11 February 2022. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  26. ^ "Dialogue in Normandy format destroyed on Feb 24 after Russian invasion – Zelensky". Interfax-Ukraine. Retrieved 2022-04-16.
  27. ^ "5 нормандських зустрічей. Як вони змінили хід війни на Донбасі". Ukrainska Pravda (in Ukrainian).