MINSK, August 26 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in the Belarusian capital of Minsk to hold multi-party talks on the situation in Ukraine, including with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
Putin will also hold talks with the presidents of the Customs Union’s members, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, as well as with European Union representatives.
Last week, President Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov stated that the meeting in Minsk is expected to address a number of urgent political and economic issues, including the Ukrainian crisis, humanitarian aid to the country’s troubled regions, the flow of refugees to Russia, and the possibility of an internal dialogue between Kiev and eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expressed hope that the results of August 26 consultations could become the first steps to achieve peace in Ukraine.
“I honestly hope that the results of today’s meeting, which I hope will not be the last, is only the first meeting that will enable us to reach an agreement that will bring peace to Ukraine,” Poroshenko said during a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
Some high-profile officials expect Minsk talks to become a breakthrough in terms of Ukrainian conflict de-escalation and stabilization of Russian-Ukrainian relations.
“You need good relations with your European neighbors; you need good relations with your Russian neighbors ... This is the message that I will take to Minsk,” the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said last Sunday at a European political forum in the Austrian town of Alpbach.