Vladimir Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that Putin's participation in the "Norman format" meeting on January 15 in Astana would depend on the results of preparatory work. Political scientist and director of the Center for Political Analysis Pavel Danilin told Pravda.Ru that the meeting would be possible only if France and Germany could take part in it as well.
"Germany has been rather skeptical about the prospects for its participation in the meeting. German officials said that Russia should first give the Crimea back. As long as Russia is not going to give the Crimea to anyone, then there are doubts about the prospects for these meetings," said Pavel Danilin.
A Pravda.Ru correspondent asked the expert why Russia needed this format of meetings that excluded the participation of representatives of both Donetsk and Luhansk republics.
"Any negotiations are better than none in this case. As for the exclusion of representatives of the breakaway republics, it goes about a way to prepare an offer for these regions, so that the Ukrainian side could come up with more or less agreed proposals. The talks in late December failed because the Ukrainian side was unprepared. Ukrainian officials set forth totally unacceptable and inconsistent suggestions. As a result, the negotiations were disrupted and brought no result," said Danilin.
More evidence appears about the arrival of Syrian jihadists that have been transferred by Turkey from the north-west of Syria to support the Islamist government led by al-Serraj