Minsk Summit: Poroshenko to Seek Ceasefire After ‘Very Tough’ Talks with Putin

Ukrainian President is to work on a cease-fire plan aimed at throwing the separatists out of the conflict zone after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk.

Meeting of Petro Poroshenko and Russian president was aimed at solving conflict but the presidents appeared to have little common ground in Minsk talks. Photo: European External Action Service - EEAS/Flickr

Meeting of Petro Poroshenko and Russian president was aimed at solving conflict but the presidents appeared to have little common ground in Minsk talks. Photo: European External Action Service – EEAS/Flickr

Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko described his two-hour-long talks with Vladimir Putin as “very tough and complex” but said all sides “without exception” had backed Kyiv’s peace proposals.

But he added: “It must be understood that a genuine settlement of the situation is only possible with the participation of representatives of Novorossiya. We will not allow our fate to be decided behind our back…”

“Now we are demanding independence. We don’t trust the Ukrainian leadership and don’t consider ourselves part of Ukraine. The guarantee of our security is our own armed forces. We will decide our own fate.”

He told reporters that a “road map will be prepared in order to achieve as soon as possible a cease-fire regime which absolutely must be bilateral in character.”

Putin, meanwhile, admitted that his meeting with the Ukranian leader appeared to be positive but that any cease-fire plans were an internal matter for Kyiv and the rebels, saying “it’s not our business, it’s up to Ukraine itself.” But he said Russia “will do everything to support this peace process if it starts.”

“We can only contribute to create a situation of trust for a possible, and in my view, extremely necessary, negotiation process,” he said.

Let’s remind that the West accuses Russia of supplying the separatists with weapons while Moscow denies the accusations.

“As for the latest wave of panic in Ukrainian media that Russia is joining the war – if Russia joined the war, the counter-offensive would already be in Kiev,” Denis Pushilin, a former separatist leader, told reporters in Moscow.

A rebel leader, Oleg Tsaryov, posted a statement on Facebook, saying that he welcomed the outcome of the talks, but the separatists still require full independence.

“Probably the most important result is Vladimir Putin’s proposal to mediate between Ukraine and Novorossiya. This is a real breakthrough,” he said.

But he added: “It must be understood that a genuine settlement of the situation is only possible with the participation of representatives of Novorossiya. We will not allow our fate to be decided behind our back…

“Now we are demanding independence. We don’t trust the Ukrainian leadership and don’t consider ourselves part of Ukraine. The guarantee of our security is our own armed forces. We will decide our own fate.”

Euronews reporter Angelina Kariakina who was in the Belarussian capital was cautious about what was achieved: “Complicated and long negotiations in Minsk didn’t bring any ready-made solutions on the situation in Ukraine. However, they may have started a series of talks between Kyiv and Moscow which could take place very soon.”

According to the United Nations, more than 2,000 people have died since April in fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Putin went on, adding that he and Poroshenko had also agreed to hold talks on Russian gas supplies to Ukraine.

“We need to resume our energy dialogue, including about gas problems,” Putin said. “Sincerely speaking, this is a difficult issue. It has reached a dead end, but we still need to talk about it.”

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