Russia and Ukraine hold peace talks in Paris
Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy for the first time on Monday at a summit in Paris aimed at advancing efforts to restore peace to eastern Ukraine.
Zelenskiy and Putin are holding talks together with the leaders of France and Germany in a renewed effort to end a conflict that has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014.
THE NORMANDY FOUR
After a series of bilateral meetings at the Elysee Palace, Putin and Zelenskiy entered the room for a meeting of the four leaders making little eye contact with one another and with no smiles. They did not shake hands for the cameras. “The main issue is a question of confidence-building so that we can move toward the objective of restoring Ukraine’s sovereignty,” said a French diplomatic source.
The summit comes at a time Macron’s overtures to Putin for a reset of relations have unnerved European allies, in particular former communist countries in eastern and central European countries who cherish their European Union membership and rely heavily on NATO for their security.
Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky agreed to renew and expand the mandate of observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) working in eastern Ukraine.
They unanimously approved a 24-hour mandate for OSCE observers to monitor the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine with unlimited access to all areas instead of the 12 hours the current mandate allows.
In addition, the four leaders spoke in favor of implementing an updated demining plan aimed at avoiding civilian casualties.