The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany midnight from Wednesday to Thursday held their disputes with each other. The conversation was tough, admitted participants. "To Lenta.ru" I tried to figure out what the presidents of the four countries talked for five o'clock and what is behind vague phrases about the outcome of negotiations.
A week ago, Moscow has carefully assessed the chances for a trip to Berlin. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov admitted that the negotiations in question, and "the usefulness of the summit depends on the developments of experts."
It was sort of a political boomerang. Doubts about the appropriateness of the meeting expressed the French leader Francois Hollande, commenting on Vladimir Putin's visit to Paris. Then the Kremlin has not converged with the host country on the agenda - Moscow wanted to discuss the situation in the Donbass, and the Europeans - the settlement of the Syrian issue. The visit was canceled.
While pondering how to bring together the threads and how to replace the Paris talks "Norman Quartet", which deals with the problem of Donbass, in the Donbas killed warlord Arseny Pavlov, known by the call sign of Motorola. Leaders of breakaway accused in the murder of Kiev. And DNI authorities interpreted the incident as a violation of the truce, the head of the republic Alexander Zakharchenko promised to take Slavic and put there "monument Motor", and experts in one voice talking about the escalation of the conflict.
The next day the news broke on the Syrian issue. The General Staff announced readiness to "humanitarian pause" for the removal of the wounded and medical personnel to ensure access to Aleppo. Twenty-four hours later, Russia announced that, together with Syria stops airstrikes at Aleppo.
Before coming to Berlin, Putin discussed the situation in the Syrian territory with President Bashar al-Assad - perhaps to have more arguments in the negotiations with the European colleagues.
But to get serious political bonus from these steps, Moscow seems unable - at least to the top of the summit in Germany. When the leaders of the "quartet" only gathered in Berlin, in the UN Security Council blocked the Russian statement on the humanitarian pause in Aleppo. Against made including France and Ukraine. Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin again complained that the partners "do not know what they really want." To find out it, apparently, it was only at the highest level.
"We'll have to deal with Poroshenko, where to go?" - Ironically Putin about the Paris meeting, while it is also not going to cancel.
Communicate to the Russian and Ukrainian presidents eventually had in Berlin. While they did this, by the impression of journalists, without enthusiasm, and the program included a minimum amount of contacts.
At the Berlin event, Putin and Poroshenko did not shake hands. When the head of the Kremlin entered the negotiations hall, Ukrainian colleague was already in place, she told the correspondent of "Komsomolskaya Pravda" Dmitry Smirnov.
Europeans prefer to breed in different corners of opponents: in addition to the overall five-hour meeting with the leaders of Russia and Ukraine are communicated separately. First German Chancellor briefly met with Poroshenko, then talk to him alone Merkel and Hollande. These meetings ended quickly, but after the arrival of Putin "Normandy format" Prozasedavshiesya about five hours.
Approximately the same number - five o'clock - lasted the last meeting in this format in October 2015 th. Longer just pored over by the Minsk agreement - to approve them in February of last year, it took about 16 hours of negotiations. They went on a background of fierce fighting in Debaltsevo.
In the past year, however, Putin and Poroshenko even shook hands.
Since then, around the implementation of the Minsk agreements often broke spears: Moscow and Kiev in turn asked its European partners to influence the other side. Mutual accusations were severe, progress - symbolic. And that was supposed to fulfill the agreement by the end of 2015, everyone seems to have forgotten.
Serious progress is not waited and from the Berlin meeting. "All participants of the meeting confirmed that the basis of a settlement on the south-east of Ukraine should be based on the Minsk agreement, all reaffirmed their commitment to these agreements," - said Putin on the results of the negotiations. According to him, a lot of attention was paid to security issues and how all the same to dissolve the conflicting parties and prevent a collision. As much humanitarian issues could not be achieved, he acknowledged Russian president.
Similar in substance phrase should be sprinkled Hollande and Merkel: according to them, the "quartet" format deserves to keep it. Political scientists and experts readily echoed: meeting showed that the format alive, and alive themselves Minsk agreements.
But the same claims being repeated from year to year in international meetings, for a long time does not bother anyone. For example, the similarity of declarations at summits BRICS Putin explained the commitment to the principles of international law. In Berlin, the Parties affirm their commitment to earlier agreements - to meet in the format of "Norman Quartet", work on the resolution of the conflict and to expand international missions in the areas of removal and storage of heavy equipment.
In the discussion of Syria with Putin - without the participation of Poroshenko - European leaders took a lot less time, just half an hour. Although the position is the same contradictory, and exchanged accusations as active, as well as on the implementation of the Minsk agreements. Only reviewer Moscow did not act Ukraine, and the United States led an international coalition.
Russian politicians have accused the Americans of wanting to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad by supporting the banned organization in the Russian Federation "Dzhabhat-en-Nusra". US replied that first it is necessary to separate the moderate opposition forces against terrorists.
Meanwhile, Assad compared the moderate opposition to mythical unicorns and refused to believe in their existence. Putin insisted that will not allow Americans to "repaint" the terrorists in the moderate forces.
Disputes about the color of the opposition Europeans did not continue. In Berlin, Merkel has sharply reduced the degree of political debate and spoke about the branch of terrorists from the civilian population. Without a cease-fire is not possible, he stressed the Chancellor.
But from the direct accusations against Moscow abstained. "International law clearly defines what a war crime and that the bombing inhuman", - said the Chancellor.
According to Merkel, Moscow should influence on Assad to ensure the safety of citizens. And how should the words of Chancellor, that Russia "must decide, humanitarian access will there be organized, whether it is possible to open the political process."
A few hours after the talks began earlier announced a humanitarian pause in Aleppo. According to the results of the Berlin meeting, Putin assured that Russia is ready to extend it "as far as possible." And specify: a break in the air strikes will continue here, "is not faced with the intensification of armed gangs, entrenched in Aleppo." Civilians leave the city, news agencies reported. With militants situation is not so unambiguous. Units of the Syrian opposition and the rebels, the rebels refused to get out of Aleppo. "It means to give up," - said the representative of one of the factions Zakaria Malahifdzhi. The other group is banned in Russia promised to fight to the death.
On Thursday morning, when a humanitarian pause has started, terrorists fired a humanitarian corridor from mortars and small arms.