Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin to Meet With Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko

Encounter Would Be First Since June, Comes Amid Diplomatic Push

By Andrey Ostroukh And Lukas I. Alpert, WSJ
Updated Aug. 19, 2014 11:31 a.m. ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet his Ukrainian counterpart next week for the first time in two months, the Kremlin said Tuesday, as pressure from Moscow and Europe grows on Kiev to end its attacks on pro-Russia separatists amid a humanitarian crisis.

The meeting in Minsk, Belarus, on Aug. 26, which will also be attended by European Union officials, would be the first time the presidents of the ex-Soviet neighbors have met since an encounter in France in June shortly before Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko took office.

Renewed diplomatic efforts have so far failed to stop the fierce fighting as Kiev's army appears to be gaining the upper hand in its attempt to oust the separatists from several town and cities in Ukraine's east. A cease-fire could complicate Ukraine's efforts, potentially giving time to the rebels to reorganize and retrench.

Kiev blames Russia for aiding the rebels with men and weapons. Moscow denies this, and accuses Ukraine of sparking a humanitarian crisis by using its army to try to quell the uprising. The fighting has increasingly affected civilians, with more than 2,000 people, both fighters and not, killed during the four-month struggle.

(More here.)

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