Zelensky calls for international summit to end war in Ukraine

AFP , Tuesday 11 Jan 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Tuesday for a new summit with France, Germany and Russia to resolve the conflict in his country, at the centre of intensive talks between the West and Russia this week.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (4thL) meeting with Foreign and security policy adviser to the German Chancellor Jens Ploetner (3rdR) and diplomatic adviser to the French President Emmanuel Bonn (4thR) in Kyiv, Ukraine. On January 11, 2022 AFP

"It is time to agree in a substantive manner on an end to the conflict and we are ready to take the necessary decisions during a new summit of the leaders of the four countries," Zelensky said in a statement following his meeting with European diplomats on Monday.

The Ukrainian presidency did not specify the nature of those "decisions", but said that Monday's talks also touched upon steps aimed at "de-escalation" at the Ukrainian border, where Moscow has amassed some 100,000 troops.

Zelensky met Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time during peace talks in Paris in 2019. The talks were hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron with then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel also in attendance.

The negotiations failed to bring an end to a conflict between Kiev forces and Moscow-backed troops that broke out in 2014. The fighting in eastern Ukraine broke out shortly after Russia seized Crimea and has since claimed over 13,000 lives.

The Kremlin accuses Kyiv of failing to implement Western-brokered peace agreements signed in Belarus in 2015.

Ukraine has repeatedly called for the restart of four-way summits and proposed a direct meeting between Zelensky and Putin, but the offers have been rebuffed by Moscow.

Tensions around Ukraine have risen further in recent months, as Washington and its European allies accuse Russia of threatening the former Soviet territory with an invasion.

Moscow describes the troop presence as protection against an encroaching West, particularly NATO, and demanded wide-ranging concessions from Washington and its allies.

Talks in Geneva between Russian and US negotiations aimed at de-escalating the situation brought no breakthrough on Monday.af

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