Newspaper article International New York Times

Russia and Ukraine Agree to Negotiations ; European Leaders Signal Delays on Sanctions; Talks Are to Focus on Borders

Newspaper article International New York Times

Russia and Ukraine Agree to Negotiations ; European Leaders Signal Delays on Sanctions; Talks Are to Focus on Borders

Article excerpt

European leaders signaled on Monday that they would again delay new economic sanctions on Russia after a conference call in which the presidents of Ukraine and Russia agreed to pursue "substantial tripartite negotiations."

Even as fighting continued in eastern Ukraine, European leaders signaled on Monday that they would again delay new economic sanctions on Russia after a conference call in which the presidents of Ukraine and Russia agreed to pursue "substantial tripartite negotiations" and to try to impose stronger controls along their countries' border, according to a statement issued by the office of President Francois Hollande of France.

European leaders had issued an ultimatum on Friday calling on Russia to do more to end the violence by pro-Russian separatist rebels, and set Monday as a deadline for tangible results. But there seemed to be minimal progress toward meeting those demands.

Still, Mr. Hollande, President Petro O. Peroshenko of Ukraine, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, held conference calls on Sunday and again on Monday to discuss the situation.

The statement by Mr. Hollande's office on Monday said that "after a long telephone conversation" Mr. Poroshenko and Mr. Putin had agreed to work on adopting a bilateral cease-fire and new border controls, including at three border checkpoints now held by rebels that European leaders have demanded be relinquished to the Ukrainian authorities. The leaders also discussed steps for the release of hostages on both sides and the more substantive overall negotiations.

The Kremlin issued a statement saying that the four leaders had expressed support for a third round of talks between representatives of the Ukrainian government and the rebel groups. In the first two sessions, separatist leaders had said they were prepared to adhere to a cease-fire, but the fighting has not let up.

Among those killed in the continuing violence was a veteran Russian television cameraman, Anatoly Klyan, who had worked for the state-controlled Channel One for 40 years. …

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