Wednesday, Sep 30

Russia and Ukraine hold peace talks in Paris

Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Zelensky joined at the talks in Paris by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
10.12.2019 - 10:44

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.

 

Putin meets Ukraine leader for first time at Paris peace summit

PARIS (Reuters) - 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.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russia's President Vladimir Putin attend a joint news conference after a Normandy-format summit in Paris, France December 9, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/Pool?

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. (nL8N28F2Y1]

Diplomats however caution that the prospects for peace are bleak, with Zelenskiy, a comedian-turned-president, politically constrained at home and wary of conceding too much, and Putin showing little interest in bending to outside pressure.

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.

There has been scant sign of a peaceful solution to the crisis despite a 2015 ceasefire deal in Minsk. Monday’s summit is the first time the four leaders have met under the so-called Normandy format since 2016.

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Many Ukrainians are concerned about compromising with Russia. They see Putin as an aggressor seeking to restore the Kremlin’s influence on the former Soviet republic and ruin Ukraine’s aspiration for closer European ties.

Kiev wants to seal a lasting ceasefire in the Donbass region, the exchange of all prisoners, and a timeline for the withdrawal of all illegal armed forces from regions under the control of Russia-backed separatists, Ukrainian officials said.

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.

French officials say the Paris summit is a test for Macron’s strategy.