Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ukraine crisis: 'No miracles' at Berlin talks

October 20, 2016 (BBC News Europe) German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said talks with Russian, Ukrainian and French leaders about a stalled Ukraine peace deal "didn't achieve miracles". All sides have agreed to draw up a roadmap by the end of November on how to implement the Minsk peace deal. Mrs Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Francois Hollande also discussed Syria.

The German leader said she and Mr Hollande had a "difficult conversation" with Mr Putin. Both condemned Syrian and Russian air strikes on Aleppo. The Ukraine discussions took place against a backdrop of tensions elevated by Russia's military backing for the Syrian regime - and a bombing campaign in Aleppo which the European Union has warned could amount to war crimes.
Among protesters gathering outside the summit, Mr Putin attracts ire for Russia's role both in Ukraine and in Syria
A blizzard of telephone diplomacy over the past week - when Mr Putin postponed a visit to France over a row about Syria - is said to have resulted in Wednesday night's meeting, which attracted several protest groups outside.
The carnage in Aleppo - highlighted by protesters in Berlin - has heightened tensions
The 2015 Minsk agreement eased fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed rebels in the east of the country, but violence frequently flares along a demarcation line. Speaking after the Berlin talks, President Poroshenko said all sides had agreed that a road map would be drawn by the end of November on how to implement the 2015 agreement and also protocols reached in 2014. He also said Russia had agreed with a proposal to allow the deployment of an armed police mission from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. President Putin has made no official comments on the issue.
Ukraine, Western leaders and Nato say there is clear evidence that Russia has supplied the rebels with heavy weapons and regular troops. Russia denies that, but it is hostile to the Kiev government and openly supports the rebel cause. The full article is available at: