Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will meet, along with the French and German leaders, in Paris on 2 October, in order to discuss efforts to resolve the Ukrainian conflict, the Kremlin said yesterday (9 September).
Before the summit, foreign ministers will discuss Ukrainian crisis in Berlin on 12 September. The French president’s office confirmed the meeting would take place.
The meetings, to be held in the so-called ‘Normandy format’ between François Hollande, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko, are named after the location of the first meeting of such kind, on the occasion of the celebration of D-Day in Normandy, in June 2014.
The violence in Eastern Ukraine has mostly subsided since 1 September, when the Ukrainian parliament backed giving more autonomy to rebel-held areas, in line with a peace deal. But this vote on first reading marked divisions in the country and in violent clashes a policeman was killed and several people were wounded outside the Ukrainian parliament.
“The leaders have welcomed the ceasefire, which has been holding, in southeast Ukraine,” the Kremlin said after the phone talks.
A summit on Ukraine last took place in February in Minsk, where steps were agreed to stop the conflict, which flared up last year after Ukraine’s pro-Moscow president fled following street protests in Kyiv (see background).
The Kremlin said that Putin stressed the need for a direct dialogue between the central government and Ukraine’s rebel-held Donbass region.
Fighting between Ukrainian government forces and the separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions has killed almost 8,000 people since it burst out in mid-April 2014.
Also, issues concerning the Russian gas supplies to Ukraine were discussed, the Kremlin website says.
The European Commission deplored the collapse of the trilateral gas talks today on 20 August, in which it was negotiating Ukrainian gas purchases from Russia, and expressed hopes that a new round could take place in September.
The leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine gave their support to a deal to end fighting in eastern Ukraine, following 17-hour long negotiations in the Belarussian capital Minsk on 12 February.
The four leaders committed to respecting Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, according to a joint declaration.
Western leaders are closely observing the implementation of the Minsk agreement.
On 2 March, European leaders said that they agreed that the OSCE needed a broader role as observers of the ceasefire, and weapons removal.
Ukraine has asked the EU to dispatch an EU-led Security and Defence (CSDP) mission to Donbas.