Little wiggle room as Ukraine, Russia leaders meet for crunch Paris talks

Reuters 21 hours ago

PARIS/KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian and Russian leaders will try to seal a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and agree on prisoner swaps when they meet next week, but with Kiev politically constrained and Moscow unlikely to bend, the prospects for peace remain bleak, diplomats said.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Vladimir Putin hold their first face-to-face talks on Dec. 9 in Paris with the French and German leaders more than three years since the countries’ heads of state last met. It comes after a slight easing of tensions.

Over 13,000 people have been killed in the more than five-year-old conflict in east Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces. There has been little sign of a peaceful solution despite a ceasefire agreement signed in February 2015 in Minsk.

Zelenskiy won a landslide election victory in April promising to end the simmering conflict, but facing pressure from his opposition, he is wary of conceding too much to Moscow.

“If we start discussing the real political, military and security issues, namely, withdrawal of some troops on the line of contact, the question of local elections and the status of Donbass region, you see that the two leaders don’t have a lot of room for maneuver,” said a senior French diplomat.

Relations between Ukraine and Russia collapsed following Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, which prompted Western sanctions.

Key to the accords are elections in Donbass, but both sides accuse each other of failing to stick to the deal, which also includes restoring Kiev’s control over the whole border with Russia and the withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the conflict zone.

“Our main expectation for #NormandySummit and any other formats is what I call #RUxit - we want Russiа and Russian forces to leave Ukraine,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said on Twitter on Tuesday.

Vladimir Frolov, a former senior Russian diplomat, said he saw little chance of a major breakthrough in Paris describing the positions as irreconcilable.

“Zelenskiy is going to hit two walls, one in Paris and one afterwards - the wall of Russian intransigence and the wall of Ukrainian public unwillingness to endorse humiliating compromises with Russia,” Frolov said.

“Moscow does not care about sanctions relief, it cares about meeting its strategic objectives in Ukraine ... and a confederate Ukrainian state that Kiev does not fully control,” he said.

Calling it a test barometer to see where both sides stood,

another French diplomat said progress on a ceasefire and

prisoner swaps would be a good basis to move forward.

The summit also comes within the wider context of Europe’s relations with Russia. French President Emmanuel Macron has sought a reset with Moscow, something that has unnerved eastern European Union partners.

“It can’t just be about Ukraine. It has to be about the Russia-West-U.S. conflict otherwise the Russians don’t have the incentives to resolve things because Ukraine is too valuable a chip,” said a former senior U.S. official.


Source link
Read also:
The New York Times › 19 hours ago
Ukrainian and Russian leaders will try to seal a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and agree on prisoner swaps when they meet next week, but with Kiev politically constrained and Moscow unlikely to bend, the prospects for peace remain bleak, diplomats said.
Raw Story › 2 weeks ago
European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland will leave no wiggle room for President Donald Trump to deny his direct involvement in the Ukraine scandal in his bombshell opening statement. As reported by the Daily Beast, Sondland will testify that he...
Reuters › 5 hours ago
The presidents of Ukraine and Russia will meet in Paris next Monday to discuss a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and the exchange of prisoners but diplomats see little chance of a breakthrough.
Reuters › 2 months ago
Canada's candidates are making a range of pricey campaign promises ahead of October's vote, but a former central bank governor and ratings agencies see wiggle room for a larger budget shortfall so long as the economy continues to grow.
One America News Network › Finance › 1 month ago
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The European Central Bank should define a range around its inflation target to give itself some wiggle-room when setting monetary policy, ECB policymaker Klaas Knot said.
Reuters › Finance › 1 month ago
The European Central Bank should define a range around its inflation target to give itself some wiggle-room when setting monetary policy, ECB policymaker Klaas Knot said.
The New York Times › 2 weeks ago
The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France will meet in Paris on Dec. 9 to try to seek a settlement for the five-year conflict in eastern Ukraine that has killed 13,000 people.
Chicago Tribune › 2 weeks ago
The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France will meet in Paris on Dec. 9 to try to seek a settlement for the five-year conflict in eastern Ukraine that
ABC News › 2 weeks ago
The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France will meet in Paris on Dec. 9 to try to seek a settlement for the five-year conflict in eastern Ukraine that has killed 13,000 people
The Sun › 2 weeks ago
ARE you planning a new exercise regime, or looking to spend more time in the great outdoors? We’ve got the sale for you. Wiggle’s Black Friday sale is now on, offering up to 60 per cent discounts on its Cycle and Triathlon ranges, and 50 per cent...
Sign In

Sign in to follow sources and tags you love, and get personalized stories.

Continue with Google
OR