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Dublin: 7 °C Friday 18 October, 2019

'If these talks fail, we know what will happen - war'

Talks are under way to find a solution to the fighting in Ukraine.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA Merkel has pushed a new peace bid to end the Ukraine conflict, warning that sending weapons to government forces fighting pro-Russian rebels would not stop the bloodshed.

Fresh from overnight talks in Moscow with French President Francois Hollande to thrash out a new peace plan, Merkel said success was far from assured but it was essential to try.

“It is uncertain whether it will lead to success but from my point of view and that of the French president it is definitely worth trying,” she told the Munich Security Conference (MSC).

“I believe we owe that much to those who are affected in Ukraine.”

Europe had had enough of war, the chancellor said, blaming Russia for breaching the international norms which had preserved peace in Europe for so many years.

Ukraine Source: Petr David Josek

Hollande for his part said that the Franco-German plan was “one of the last chances” to stop the 10-month-old conflict that has claimed some 5,400 lives.

“If we fail to find a lasting peace agreement, we know the scenario perfectly well — it has a name, it is called war,” he said.

Time is pressing to find a solution to the crisis before it turns into a major East-West confrontation, as recent gains by the Russian-backed and increasingly well-armed rebels drive calls for the West to supply weapons to Kiev.

Supporters in Washington argue Western sanctions have failed to get Russia to reverse course in a conflict, so the time has come to take the gloves off.

Ukraine Source: AP/Press Association Images

But Merkel rejected that idea outright as dangerously unrealistic and unlikely to impress Putin.

“I can’t conceive of a situation where better armaments for the Ukrainian army so impress President Putin that he believes he will militarily lose. I have to be that blunt,” she said.

“I am of the firm conviction that there is no military solution to the conflict.”

Merkel was due later Saturday to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry, his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko and US Vice-President Joe Biden.

The meetings on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference will focus on a new blueprint agreed in overnight talks in Moscow between President Vladimir Putin, Merkel and Hollande.

© – AFP 2015

Read: Pro-Russian rebels launch rocket attack on Ukrainian market, killing 30 and injuring dozens more

Read: Watch: Dashboard cam captures moment of deadly rocket attack in Ukraine

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