Thursday, March 29, 2018

Russia, EU Powers Agree to Intensify Eastern Ukraine Peace Bid

March 29, 2018 (BloombergPolitics) Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine said they’ll examine ways to speed up progress on a peace plan for eastern Ukraine and end a conflict that triggered sanctions against Russia. Government leaders of the four countries welcomed an Easter cease-fire taking effect Friday and called for international observers to be allowed to verify it, according to joint statements published in Paris and Berlin on Thursday.

A destroyed pro-Russian armoured personnel carrier near the city of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine. 

The four countries pledged to “search in the months ahead for possible solutions to accelerate the implementation” of the Minsk accords, which laid out military and political steps to end the conflict between Ukraine’s government and pro-Russian separatists. The governments also called for further prisoner swaps.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on March 12 that European Union sanctions on Russia could be “discussed” if there’s “qualitative progress” in eastern Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed France’s commitment to Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty in a phone call with Russia’s Vladimir Putin on March 19. Putin and Merkel are among the signers of the Minsk accords in Belarus in February 2015. Sporadic fighting in the eastern regions of Ukraine bordering Russia has continued and many terms of the accords haven’t been met.