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Russia, Ukraine leaders to meet in Paris

Key talks: French President Emmanuel Macron, right, welcoming his Russian counterpart in Paris.

Key talks: French President Emmanuel Macron, right, welcoming his Russian counterpart in Paris.  

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French- and German-mediated talks seek to end 5-year conflict in eastern Ukraine

Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Paris for summit talks on Monday seen as a critical opportunity to take steps to end five years of conflict in the east of Ukraine.

No comprehensive peace deal is expected from the meeting — mediated by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel — but diplomats hope the summit will help to bolster trust between the two men.

They were to hold talks individually with the EU’s two key leaders before a four-way summit, followed by a hotly-awaited bilateral between wily ex-KGB agent Putin and ex-comedian Zelensky who won the presidency this year.

Thousands have been killed and one million have fled their homes since pro-Russia militias in eastern Ukraine launched a bid for independence in 2014 — kicking off a conflict that deepened Russia’s estrangement from the West. The separatists seized control of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions shortly after Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

The issue of Crimea, whose seizure gave Mr. Putin a popularity boost at home but led to international sanctions against Moscow, is not on the table at this summit. Its aims include agreeing to disband illegal militias, the departure of foreign fighters from Donetsk and Lugansk, and Ukraine taking back control of its border with Russia, according to a French presidential source.

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 12:20:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/russia-ukraine-leaders-to-meet-in-paris/article30259787.ece

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