Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko, Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande have joined roundtable talks in Berlin amid the Syria crisis and concerns that the Minsk Accords, designed to bring a political resolution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, have not been implemented.
On the eve of the summit, Merkel told the media “not to expect any miracles.”
“Things are stalled in many areas such as the ceasefire, political issues and humanitarian issues,” the German chancellor said.
Agreed in February 2015 in the Belarussian capital, the Accords laid out a roadmap for a ceasefire and demilitarization of eastern Ukraine, which is still partly controlled by those who refuse to recognize Kiev’s authority, followed by political reform and new elections that would incorporate the will of the local population.
Earlier this month, Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president, said that no political reforms would be possible until a complete ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy artillery from the region. He also insisted that the control of the border would first be returned to the OSCE, then to Kiev – a demand that runs contrary to the agreed terms.
Days later, Putin fired back, saying that Ukraine was looking for a “pretext” not to comply with the agreement, and claiming that the anti-Kiev forces would not disarm and leave themselves at the mercy of the Ukrainian authorities unless they were given political guarantees.
Talks in Berlin are likely to be fraught with additional tensions, as Russia’s standoff with the West over Syria has only worsened in the past two years. This month, French President Francois Hollande called for Russia to be investigated for war crimes during the battle for Aleppo.
In response, Putin canceled his visit to France, which was meant to fall on the same day as Wednesday’s talks in Berlin. The trip marks the first time Putin has visited Berlin since the political crisis in Ukraine began in 2014.
Source : RT – Daily news