12:56 GMT15 July 2020
Listen Live
    Get short URL
    Minsk Summit on Ukraine: Last Exit Before War? (83)
    0 12

    The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France are to meet for last-ditch talks in the Belarusian capital of Minsk on Wednesday to discuss a way out of the Ukrainian crisis.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko, France's Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are expected to build on a blueprint for a peace treaty in Ukraine that Merkel and Hollande offered during their Thursday trip to Kiev, with added proposals by both Putin and Poroshenko.

    The summit is commonly referred to as Normandy-format talks. It dates back to a meeting between the four leaders on the margins of the 70th anniversary of the allies' landing in Normandy, France.

    This time around, the leaders are anticipated to thrash out an agreement aimed at ending violence in eastern Ukraine, after an upsurge in hostilities earlier this year brought the death toll to almost 5,500.

    The key topics under discussion will be the withdrawal of heavy artillery, the creation of a demilitarized zone and the start of a "permanent dialogue" between Kiev and militia groups in southeast Ukraine, a diplomatic source close to the talks told RIA Novosti Tuesday.

    Germany, France and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which mediates the talks, insist that Russia should take responsibility for the peace process.

    Militia forces in the breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk regions have vowed to cease fire as soon as the Ukrainian president orders his troops on the ground to lay down arms.

    The Normandy summit is not likely to be crowned with a final peace deal. Rather, it is expected that the four leaders will issue a joint statement that may play a decisive role in whether the United States chooses to go ahead with its plan of sending weapons to Kiev.

    Germany and France earlier ruled out supplying Ukraine with lethal aid in present circumstances. Over the weekend, Chancellor Merkel stressed that a diplomatic solution was the only viable option, despite all setbacks to the peace process so far.

    High-ranking diplomats from Ukraine, Russia, Germany, France and OSCE have been meeting for the last two days to lay the groundwork for Wednesday's summit in Minsk. They pledged to continue working into Wednesday to get all the proposal documents ready ahead of the crunch talks.

    Minsk Summit on Ukraine: Last Exit Before War? (83)


    Contact Group On Ukraine Begins Talks in Minsk
    Diplomat Outlines Key Issues of Normandy Four Talks
    Envoys End Normandy Format Talks on Ukraine in Berlin
    Minsk Summit on Ukraine: Last Exit Before War?
    France, peace plan, OSCE, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, Petro Poroshenko, Vladimir Putin, Minsk, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Germany
    Community standardsDiscussion