Ukraine sees 'understanding' with Russia on peace moves By Timothy
(Reuters) - Ukraine
said on Monday it had reached a "mutual understanding" with Moscow on
parts of a plan proposed by President Petro Poroshenko for ending violence in
the east of the country.
Kiev gave no details and Russia did not
comment directly but two days of talks, following a brief encounter in France
last week that broke the ice between Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir
Putin, have given momentum to peace moves.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter
Steinmeier said in a statement released in Berlin that there was "some
faint light at the end of the tunnel" in the Ukraine
conflict for the first time in months.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a
brief statement in Kiev that Russian and Ukrainian representatives had met
three times in the past two days to discuss Poroshenko's plan to end an insurrection
by pro-Russian separatists in the east.
"As a result of the work, the sides
reached a mutual understanding on key stages of the implementation of the plan
and on a list of priorities which will contribute to a de-escalation of the
situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine," it said.
The talks are being mediated by the
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Vienna-based security
and human rights watchdog, but almost no details of Poroshenko's plan or the
talks have been made public.
It was not even clear who took part in
Monday's meetings, although the Ukrainian leader was present at Sunday's talks
and said that the violence must end this week.
"Each day when people die, when Ukraine
pays such a high price, is inadmissible for me," his office quoted him as
Poroshenko, who was sworn in on Saturday, has
called for daily meetings of the "contact group" and the Foreign
Ministry said the talks would continue.
EBB IN FIGHTING
Scores of people have been killed since April
in east Ukraine, including separatists and government forces, and Russian
speakers there are suspicious of Poroshenko and the new, pro-Western government
But fighting has ebbed in the past few days,
despite renewed shelling of rebels in the city of Slaviansk, and Russia and
Ukraine signaled last week they hoped to resolve a dispute over the price Kiev
pays for Russian gas and its gas debts.
Failure to secure a deal, though, would fuel
tension again because Moscow has threatened to turn off the taps on Tuesday if
there was no agreement at the latest meeting in Brussels.
As the EU gets about a third of its gas
imports from Russia, almost half of it via Ukraine, its member states could
also suffer from supply disruptions.
In Finland, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov said the government in Ukraine and the EU had to work more
constructively to end the crisis in Ukraine, but also expressed some hope.
"I believe that the newly-chosen
Ukrainian President Poroshenko's contacts (with Western leaders) can lead to
violence being stopped and internal dialogue beginning," he told a news
conference with Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja.
Putin and Poroshenko had 15 minutes of talks
during a World War Two anniversary event in France last week, their first
meeting since the crisis flared in February after the overthrow of Ukraine's
Moscow-leaning president, Viktor Yanukovich.
Yanukovich Poroshenko has set course towards
Europe since being elected president on May 25, and stepped up a military operation
to take back buildings seized by the separatists in towns and cities in mainly
Russian-speaking east Ukraine.
Germany's Steinmeier, who will meet Lavrov
and the Polish foreign minister in St Petersburg on Tuesday, said he would
"sound out how the positive momentum of recent days can be used to make
the process of de-escalation irreversible".
(Additional reporting by Thomas
Grove in Slaviansk, Sakari
Suoninen in Finland, Michelle Martin in Berlin, and Barbara
Lewis and Martin Santa in Brussels, Editing by Tom Heneghan)
fled to Russia, which annexed the Crimea
region from Ukraine a month later, deepening Moscow's worst standoff with the
West since the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in
is that country that has no principles and always throughout its existence in
the world black mailed its own people with its might of power it is accustomed to use muscle power or its might to keep its people
mute like a pet dog in the country. Therefore, it is no use believing that it
would to have peace with Ukraine.