Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ukraine crisis: Brokered talks to begin in Kiev

May 14 (BBC News Ukraine) Talks to end the crisis in Ukraine are due to begin in Kiev, brokered by international monitors, but pro-Russian rebels look unlikely to attend. The OSCE - a security and rights monitoring group drawn from European and North American states - said Russian President Vladimir Putin supported its initiative. A veteran German diplomat, Wolfgang Ischinger, has been brought in to moderate Wednesday's talks. But reports suggest that representatives of the pro-Russian separatists, who in any case lack a single leader or agreed goals, will not attend the talks. Furthermore, the interim government has refused to talk to separatists. "The government in Kiev does not want to listen to the people of Donetsk," Denis Patkovski, a member of a pro-Russian militia in Sloviansk, Donetsk region, told the Associated Press news agency. "They just come here with their guns." German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, currently visiting Ukraine, said he hoped that Wednesday's talks would lead to the separatists disarming and would also improve the atmosphere for the presidential election.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has held talks in Kiev and Odessa 
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking in Berlin, said the more representative the talks were, the better. But she added: "Clearly, people are only welcome if they can credibly show that they are prepared to reach their goals without violence." Armed separatists continue to occupy key government buildings in the east while Russia denies fomenting the unrest just over its border.
Nato believes some 40,000 Russian troops are deployed near Ukraine's border, although Moscow says they have been pulled back. Russia annexed Ukraine's southern autonomous republic of Crimea in March following a controversial referendum and the Ukrainian interim government fears a similar outcome in Donetsk, Luhansk and parts of the south.
Charred wreckage a day after Ukrainian troops were ambushed in the east