Friday, September 05, 2014

West Raises Pressure on Russia Ahead of Ukraine Peace Talks

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's Comments Come as World Leaders Meet for Nato Summit

By Alan Cullison in Kiev, Ukraine and Colleen McCain Nelson and Stephen Fidler in Newport, Wales
Updated Sept. 5, 2014 WSJ

The U.S. and Europe moved to toughen sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis amid signs that some countries could go even further and send weapons to Kiev—ratcheting up the pressure on pro-Russia rebels a day ahead of peace talks.

At a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Wales, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expressed what he called "careful optimism" that a cease-fire would be agreed to Friday in the Belarusian capital of Minsk—in part because Russian President Vladimir Putin had proposed it himself.

But it wasn't clear whether the Russian and Ukrainian proposals were compatible; Mr. Putin's plan calls for Ukraine to pull back its forces and leave the rebels in control of some territory.

Western officials were skeptical of Moscow's intentions. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said past cease-fires had "just been a smokescreen" to hide continuing destabilization by Moscow of Ukraine.

(Continued here.)

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