Ukraine FM: Russia Not Ready to Talk in Detail
by Ken Schwartz March 03, 2016
Ukraine's foreign minister, Pavlo Klimkin, reported no breakthrough after Thursday's talks in Paris on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, saying he believes the Russians are not ready to discuss anything in detail.
Klimkin told reporters the talks with the Russian, French and German foreign ministers were lively but very difficult, especially on the issue of Ukrainians being held prisoner by Russian-backed rebels in the east. He said he presented the Russians with letters of appeal written by the mothers of some of those being held.
Klimkin also said there needs to be more progress toward security and a lasting cease-fire if elections are to be held in eastern Ukraine at the end of June.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said nothing as he walked right past the microphones and reporters after Thursday's meeting.
But France's Jean-Marc Ayrault called for a prisoner exchange, and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters he is unsatisfied with the way Russia and Ukraine have been leading the negotiations so far.
Russia and Ukraine signed the Minsk accords more than a year ago. They were supposed to have led to a lasting cease-fire and a political settlement in Ukraine.
The fighting has eased, but there has been almost no progress toward a permanent peace.
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