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No breakthrough in Russia-Ukraine talks (but everyone says they want peace)

A peace strategy was “supported by all without exception”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko before talks in Minsk.
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko before talks in Minsk.
Image: AP

TALKS BETWEEN THE leaders of Russia and Ukraine apparently failed to make a major breakthrough towards ending brutal fighting in east Ukraine yesterday.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, however, said all sides had supported his government’s proposals for a route towards peace.

“The peaceful strategy to develop Ukraine was supported by all leaders without exception who participated in Minsk,” Poroshenko said in a statement.

Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin sat down for a crunch one-on-one in the Belarusian capital yesterday after marathon talks involving top EU officials.

handshake Source: PBS NewsHour via YouTube

The meeting came as tensions spiked, after Moscow admitted for the first time that its troops had crossed into Ukraine.

Poroshenko said there were “some results” but there seemed to be no significant compromises to help end four months of clashes between government forces and pro-Russian fighters that some fear could spill over into all-out war between the two neighbours.

The Russian leader said he would “do everything” to help a future peace process but did little to soothe tensions when he shrugged off Kiev’s claims it had captured 10 Russian troops on its territory, with military sources in Moscow earlier saying they crossed over “by accident”.

UKRAINE RUSSIA Source: AP

“I have not yet received a report from the defence ministry. But from what I have heard, they were patrolling the border and could have ended up on Ukrainian territory,” Putin told journalists, adding that Ukrainian troops had previously crossed into Russia.

“I am hoping that there won’t be any problems with the Ukrainian side over this case.”

Poroshenko said all sides “without exception” agreed to a Kiev peace plan but demanded actions not words after the meeting -that also included the leaders of Kazakhstan and Belarus – pointing to an agreement for talks on border controls and between army chiefs.

“We demand decisive actions which can help bring peace to Ukraine,” he said in a statement.

Over four months of brutal fighting in east Ukraine have killed more than 2,200 people and forced over 400,000 to flee their homes.

Read: Putin V Poroshenko – Russia and Ukraine’s presidents to meet today>

Russian aid convoy to Ukraine described as a ‘direct invasion’>

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Dan MacGuill

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