4-Way Emergency Ukraine Summit Planned for Wednesday
The leaders of Ukraine, Germany and France are pushing for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in a frantic bid to halt escalating bloodshed in eastern Ukraine.
The four leaders discussed the meeting in a phone call as part of their efforts to achieve a “comprehensive settlement” in the conflict between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels, Berlin said.
Putin, however, warned that the summit planned in the Belarussian capital Minsk would only take place if the leaders agreed on a “number of points” by then.
“We will be aiming for Wednesday, if by that time we manage to agree on a number of points which we’ve been intensely discussing lately,” Putin told Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko in televised remarks on Sunday, AFP reported.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have ramped up their push for peace in recent days, jetting to Kiev first for talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and then to Moscow to meet Putin, who the West accuses of masterminding the 10-month-old conflict.
On Monday, foreign ministry officials from the four countries will hold preparatory talks in Berlin while Merkel briefs US President Barack Obama on the latest peace initiative during a visit to the White House.
In their telephone conversation on Sunday, Putin, Poroshenko, Merkel and Hollande “continued to work on a package of measures to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine,” Merkel’s office said.
The Ukrainian government said the leaders expected their efforts to lead to “an immediate and unconditional bilateral ceasefire”.
Fresh fighting claimed 12 civilian lives, separatist and Kiev authorities said, with 12 Ukrainian troops also killed in the last 24 hours.