Reuters: Ukraine minister sees no preparations for new Russia talks, has low expectations

10:18, 11 February 2020
Politics
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Photo from UNIAN

The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany met in Paris in December to discuss the long-running Ukraine crisis and agreed to get together again within four months to keep the dialogue open, as reported by Reuters.

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"I am confident that when leaders say they will meet in April then they will ... what I don't see though is the preparation," Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko told reporters during a visit to Italy.

"Before the December meeting ... (preparations) started half a year beforehand. Now we have two months to go and I have not seen anything prepared. Maybe it will be a much faster process than last time and maybe we will make much more progress. I am sorry, but I doubt it."

The conflict in eastern Ukraine that broke out in 2014 has killed more than 13,000 people, left a large swathe of Ukraine de facto controlled by Moscow-backed armed forces and aggravated the deepest east-west rift since the Cold War.

The December summit did not produce the sort of breakthrough some had hoped for, such as an agreement on expanding a ceasefire zone, but it did lead to a prisoner exchange deal.

Prystaiko welcomed the subsequent large-scale prisoner swap that took place at the end of last year, but noted that more people had died in continued fighting in January 2020 than in the same month a year earlier.

"We haven't managed to achieve a ceasefire ... But even if we have just an exchange of prisoners, that is a good step for Ukrainians," he said.

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