Ukraine Ceasefire Looks Remote As Putin Talks Tough At Meeting With Poroshenko
By Kalyan Kumar | August 28, 2014 1:46 PM EST
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met and Russian President Vladimir at Minsk on Tuesday. But the meeting failed to produce any dramatic results.
Foreign citizens working and living in Ukraine wave the flags of their countries during a rally demanding justice for the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, at Independence Square in Kiev July 27, 2014. Nearly 300 people, 193 of them Dutch citizens, were killed when the Malaysia Airlines plane en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was brought down in eastern Ukraine, where separatists are battling government forces, on July 17.
However, Reuters reported that the Ukrainian President, soon after the meeting talked about a "roadmap" that can lead to a ceasefire between the official forces and rebels in eastern Ukraine. The Ukraine president described the talks as "tough and complex." The two leaders appeared for a handshake in front of the cameras. Poroshenko said the visit was part of his quest for a political compromise.
The talks in Belarus capital Minsk were multilateral. Those present at the talks included Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief and leaders of Kazakhstan and Belarus.
During the talks with President Putin, Poroshenko promised that the interests of Russian-speaking population in eastern Ukraine would be protected. Putin argued that Ukraine's decision to sign an association agreement with the European Union hit the economy of Russia and it needs to be protected.
Russia wanted Ukraine to join a rival economic union headed by it, where Belarus and Kazakhstan are the members. But Ukraine is going ahead with its plan to ratify the EU association agreement in the next couple of months.
Putin noted that the use of military by Ukraine in eastern Ukraine was not acceptable. What is needed is an initiative to solve the problems aired by the residents of southeast, through a peaceful dialogue with their representatives.
Ukraine insisted that the rebels should hand over the territory they have captured in eastern Ukraine. Strategically, the current situation in eastern Ukraine gives Russia the leverage of restraining Ukraine from joining NATO or the European Union.
President Poroshenko, is miffed with Russia for many reasons. Russia's call to federalise Ukraine and devolve more powers to the regions has not impressed the Ukraine president. Poroshenko also abhors any referendum on its plan to join the NATO.
The problems between Ukraine and Russia started after Russia annexed Crimea, in March this year. The eastern Ukraine uprising started in the very next month. The domestic strife in Ukraine has already killed more than 2,000 people and 340,000 people have reportedly fled, according to the UN.
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