December 20, 2014
Ukraine and Russia far from peace talks
The Ukraine crisis has led to a confrontation between Moscow and the West unseen since the darkest days of the Cold War and peace talks seem to be moving further away.
Russian Foreign Minister Serguei Lavrov said peace talks are “pointless now” because the first agreement, the Geneva Accord -which entailed the suspension of military operations-, was not implemented after Kiev’s military incursión against the rebel-held city of Slavyansk. Meanwhile, in Ukraine, the Parliament oficially rejected the rebels' demands for a federalization referendum and the government also refused to engage in negotiations with pro-Russian militants.
Both sides have been burying their dead as Ukraine slides further towards war, with supporters of Russia and of a united Ukraine each accusing the other side of tearing the country apart.
The foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine met briefly on the sidelines of the Council of Europe human rights conference in Vienna on Ukrainian crisis today but with no clear chances for a breakthrough
"You cannot expect miracles from the conference because there won't be any,” Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said, but quickly added: “Hopefully, and this is my expectation, there will be clear backing from most countries for orderly and free [presidencial] elections on May 25, because this could be a small step towards stabilising the country".
Ukraine is ready to back a new round of talks as long as Moscow supports presidential elections on May 25, Ukrainian Acting Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia said today.
"If Russia is ready to commit itself to support these elections and to eliminate this threat and eliminate its support for the extremist elements in Ukraine, we are ready to have such a round of meetings," he told a news conference in Vienna.
But in an ironic response that shows that peace seems to be nowhere near, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: "Holding elections at a time when the army is deployed against part of the population is quite unusual".