Ukrainian crisis talks in Berlin : progress made but no ceasefire

An emergency summit was held on Sunday August 17th between Foreign Ministers of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany in Berlin. It was the second round of talks over the Ukrainian crisis after the last summit that was held on April 17th in Geneva. Although progress emerged about the Russian humanitarian convoy’s entry on Ukrainian territory, Sergei Lavrov, Pavel Klimkin, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Laurent Fabius did not reach any agreement concerning an exit from the current crisis between the two countries.

The 280 truck convoy sent on August 12th by Moscow to the Eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk will be able to enter the Ukrainian territory and deliver humanitarian aid, as an agreement was reached between Kiev and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The trucks had been parked in Russia near the border with Ukraine since Wednesday. According to Russia the trucks were loaded with humanitarian aid supplies for citizens in Eastern Ukraine, where a humanitarian crisis risks getting worse. The Ukrainian government and some Western countries believed the trucks were full of arms supplies in order to equip pro-Russian separatists with military equipment.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that no ceasefire had been reached in Eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels still oppose government troops. The summit aimed at "reaffirming the Russian position, which is that a ceasefire […] must be unconditional," he said, while reminding the participants that Ukraine had violated the Joint Geneva Statement that had been signed on April 17th. “The first – an immediate cessation of the use of force. Second – an immediate solution of humanitarian problems. And the third – the immediate commencement of constitutional reform in a format that involves all regions of Ukraine, which is open and accountable to public opinion. None of these three requirements have been fulfilled,” he said.  

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier declared that negotiations would continue next week in order “to achieve a long-term ceasefire, as well as the development of the basic principles of effective border control.”

Sources : Russia Today, ITAR TASS, The Guardian, Le Monde, Wall Street Journal

Author : Laura Gounon

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