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Asean & Global Updates
POSTED | 10:48 AM | 06-02-2015

French, German leaders to talk with Putin over Ukraine

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande are scheduled to be in Moscow on Friday (6 Feb 2015) to push for a new peace plan for Ukraine.

While there, the two European leaders will meet with Russian President Vladmir Putin. Merkel and Hollande arrived in the Russian capital following talks on Thursday in Kiev with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, according to AFP.

The renewed efforts to put a stop to fighting that has led to more than 5,300 deaths since last April comes as US President Barack Obama decides whether to give lethal aid to Ukraine, a move that Moscow says would be a provocation and severely sour relations.

A previous peace deal between Kiev and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine — the Minsk agreement — is all but dead and clashes between the two groups have intensified in recent weeks. As a result, NATO has boosted its rapid response forces in the region.

US Secretary of State John Kerry also met with Poroshenko in Kiev on Thursday.

“Let there be no doubt about who is blocking the prospects for peace here,” Kerry said, referring to Moscow. Putin adviser Yuri Ushakov said Russia was “ready for a constructive conversation.” Moscow has consistently denied it is arming the separatists.

The Associated Press reported on Friday that rebel leaders reached agreement with Ukrainian authorities to allow the evacuation of civilians from Debaltseve, a railway hub that’s been the focus of recent fighting.

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