News / Europe

Belarus Meeting Fails to End Fighting in Eastern Ukraine

  • Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (front), Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attend a meeting with high-ranked officials representing Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and the European Union in Minsk, Aug.26, 2
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko as Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev looks on prior to their talks in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 26, 2014.
  • Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, second left, welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, second right, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, right, to their talks after after posing for a phot
  • (From L) Russia's President Vladimir Putin, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko meet in the Belarussian capital Minsk, Aug. 26, 2014.
  • Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, right, shakes hands with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during their meeting in Minsk, Aug. 26, 2014.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin waves as he gets into a car upon his arrival at an airport outside Minsk, Aug. 26, 2014.
  • Smoke rises after shelling in the town of Novoazovsk, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 26, 2014.
  • Relatives and friends say good-bye to volunteers before they were sent to the eastern part of Ukraine to join the ranks of a special battalion unit fighting against pro-Russian separatists, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Aug. 26, 2014.
  • Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, left, gets traditional salt and bread upon arrival in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 26, 2014.
  • European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, center, is given flowers upon her arrival in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 26, 2014.
  • EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, left, talks to Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, second right, in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 26, 2014.
  • Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko arrives in Minsk airport, Belarus, Aug. 26, 2014.

Conference in Ukraine – Tuesday, Aug. 26

Daniel Schearf

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he has support for a peace plan from all leaders who attended a regional summit Tuesday in Belarus, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But hours later, it remained unclear what immediate impact that support would have on ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces.

Poroshenko and Putin met face-to-face in Minsk for about two hours in talks aimed at ending the months-long crisis in Ukraine.

Afterward, the Russian leader said Moscow will "do everything" to support a peace plan.  But he also said it would be up to the Kyiv government to negotiate cease-fire terms with rebels.

Separately,  Poroshenko said a roadmap for cease-fire talks will be prepared as soon as possible.

Earlier, the discussions ended in lists of demands instead of the truce called for by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shook hands uncomfortably before heading into peace talks in Minsk, while fighting between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed rebel fighters appeared to be spreading in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region.

Poroshenko, speaking in Russian, told delegates that a negotiated compromise is urgently needed: "The fate of Europe and the fate of the world is being decided today in Minsk."

He said that the only effective method for ending bloodshed in eastern Ukraine was enforcing border controls with Russia and stopping the supply of arms to rebels.

Putin insisted that Russians be permitted to meet peacefully with representatives of the Russian-speaking population in eastern Ukraine.

The demand follows several attempts by Russian convoys to deliver what they called humanitarian aid. The Ukrainian government and Western nations believe they may have included shipments of arms to the pro-Russian rebels.

The two leaders, who haven't met face to face since June, were joined by the presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan and three senior officials from the European Union, including EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

In opening remarks Tuesday in Minsk, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko urged both sides to "discard political ambitions and not to seek political dividend."

Trading accusations

Putin said the Ukraine crisis cannot be resolved through further escalation of force or without launching a peace dialogue with separatists.

He also said the Russian economy could lose some 100 billion roubles ($2.77 billion) if European Union goods reach Russia via Ukraine, bypassing the tariffs Russia levies on EU goods.

"Russia cannot remain idle in such a case and we will simply be forced to take decisive measures to protect our market," he said, adding that would include reversing trade preferences for imports from Ukraine.

Poroshenko responded by defending a peace plan he issued in June, when the rebels in the southeast Donbass region scorned his invitation to lay down their arms and leave by a safe corridor.

He acknowledged that Russia's key demand – further autonomy for the regions of southeastern Ukraine where support for Russia is strong – must be addressed and the ravages of months of violent conflict must be repaired. Poroshenko invited Belarus and Kazakhstan to contribute to a post-war fund for rebuilding southeast Ukraine.

Calls for a secure border

The Ukrainian president said the first step in a political compromise must be agreement on a secure border "as a key element of the country’s sovereignty and independence."

For that, he is counting on help from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Effective border controls "are only possible with participation of the OSCE," he said, in order to cut off the flow of military hardware and weapons to the pro-Russian rebels.

Russia, which repeatedly has called for a cease-fire, supports what it calls "a dialogue of national unity" that would boost the autonomy of Ukraine's regions.

But a unilateral cease-fire by Kyiv in June was widely seen by Ukrainians as allowing the rebels a breathing space to regroup. Poroshenko could find it difficult to win support at home for a repeat, especially as government forces have the upper hand.

Kyiv says Moscow has been sending military weapons and vehicles to the Ukrainian separatists for months, and independent reports have tended to confirm those claims.

Russia continues to flatly deny that it is arming the rebels, but officials from Moscow did admit Tuesday that 10 Russian paratroopers had been captured inside Ukraine. Quoting a Ministry of Defense official, Russian state media said the troops crossed the border by mistake.

The risk of outright war between Russia and Ukraine, the two most populous former Soviet republics, has alarmed Washington and its NATO allies, while tit-for-tat sanctions between Moscow and the West are threatening to tip the Russian economy into recession and choke off recovery in Europe.

The unrest in Ukraine began last year when former President Viktor Yanukovych abruptly pulled out of the EU trade deal in favor of a pact with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Protests erupted, then violence, and Yanukovych fled to Russia.

Overnight attacks

While officials were preparing to meet in Minsk, local authorities in the main rebel bastion of Donetsk said three civilians were killed in shelling overnight as the army pummels insurgent fighters hunkered down there.

The Ukrainian military said 12 soldiers had been killed and 19 wounded since Monday.

At a frontline Ukrainian military position, soldiers said they battle daily with pro-Russian separatists located about 10 kilometers away.

A rocket-launcher site was destroyed in one of the frequent barrages of rebel fire that come daily, according to a young soldier named Oleg.

"You can't tell, it can be in 10 minutes, in 2 minutes or in 24 hours, or shelling all the time from artillery mortars or grad rockets," he said.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

You May Like

Official: S. Sudan President, Rebel Leader to Meet in Tanzania

Talks part of effort to end conflict in country that has left more than 10,000 people dead, displaced more than 1.5 million others More

Dutch Deny Link to Mystery Submarine Off Sweden

Netherlands denies Russian claim that 'foreign vessel' photographed in waters off Sweden could be Dutch More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: DellStator from: US
August 28, 2014 12:08 AM
Ever since Germany's leader met with Ukrainian leader this rolling disaster has taken a hard left into the 4th dimension. Ukrainian leader dissolves the gov't. Mysterious peace process announced with no specifics, time table, cease fire - at same time hundreds of Russian tanks pour over the border. US President is totally silent, as is all state and military leaders in the Euro Zone. Even in Ukraine there is near silence instead of the only solution left to them, appeal to nation to volunteer by the millions to stand in front of the Soviet tanks and in all likelihood be slaughtered, hoping that crime against humanity might finally spark some world action more effective than banning the 3rd ass't minister for parks and recreation from visiting Disney World.
Ukraine - I'm sorry my gov't is so faithless, weak, and owned by the rich and powerful, who see so many ways to make billions off your suffering they've muzzled and gelded our "leaders".


by: John from: California
August 27, 2014 4:00 PM
If NATO insists on moving right up to Russia's border, Russia might do the job for NATO by moving Russia's border to coincide with the current western border of Ukraine.

In Response

by: John Null
August 27, 2014 4:32 PM
Makes sense, John. Do it simultaneously. Actually, Finland,Baltics, Poland are right on the RF border. The rest ( Slovakia, Hungary, Romania) on the border with Belarus and Ukraine). NATO should calm down and don't do anything stupid in this very tense situation.


by: John Null
August 27, 2014 3:22 AM
"Belarus Meeting Fails to End Fighting in Eastern Ukraine" ? It can't be solved in one day, but I wouldn't say that the Summit already a failure..come on, VOA, have some patience.


by: Hoang Hoa from: Vietnam
August 26, 2014 11:11 PM
Russian speaking people in Ukraine are Ukrainians. They live in their own lands so It í up to them to stay or leave those land. No one including those in Kiev has a single right to force them to leave their home. 10 russian troops caught by Kiev must be released right away because they entered Ukraine by mistake (only 20 km from Russian border). As far as I know, thousands of Ukrainians including hundred of Ukrainian troops have entered Russian Border without Russian permission. Russia could have launched their own inverstigations into spying cases with those Ukrainians and put many in prisons. But Russians are kind people. After feeding those Ukrainians, Russia have let them leave for Ukraine without charging or fining them. So those in Kiev must stop aggression and release the ten russian troops without condition. Kiev must learn to be kind or no one will be kind to you!

In Response

by: Max from: Ukraine
August 27, 2014 10:03 AM
Ukraine captured russian troops, that's right. But this is 1% of those who crosses the border on tanks and with other heavy weapon. They kill us from russian weapon! Do you think "russian speaking people" on the east of Ukraine have such BTR, BMP, BM-21 "Grad", MPADS or even "BUK" that destroyed Malaysian aircraft? Common, open your eyes!


by: Max from: Ukraine
August 26, 2014 4:14 PM
Ukraine is fighting not only for itself but for rules on the whole world. We fight against Russia - country which army is second in the world. If Ukraine wins, all the world will know that nobody is allowed to grab someone's territory like putin did with Crimea. We thank to USA and EU for support, but what we have now is not enough. We expect either weapon or direct NATO support. Otherwise high chance putin can do the same in Poland, Finland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia or Georgia. Think about that, please.

In Response

by: John from: CA
August 27, 2014 4:24 PM
Max, you seem sincere, but your apocalyptic vision of Russian invasions east, west, north and south is nonsense of the type served up by the US State Department, the Wall Street Journal editorial board, Sen. John McCain and others.

In Response

by: Max from: Ukraine
August 27, 2014 9:56 AM
to John Null:
Your thoughts make sense. But agree the fact that Putin wants to restore USSR. Did you hear about strategic military air base Putin wants in Belarus?
And one correction - I don't want NATO attack, at least now, I didn't write about it, but agreement for tight collaboration with NATO would be a good solution. And plus a road map to join NATO in future.

P.S.Please read about USSR intervention in Czechoslovakia in 1968 (Prague spring).

In Response

by: John Null
August 27, 2014 3:03 AM
I think this meeting is strictly regional, and important for both sides..wouldn't call current ATO in Ukraine a fight fpr the world. I'd also keep Georgian civil war with Abkhazia and South Osetia, followed by war between Georgia and RF. It's way too complicated then you think. Every country has a right for self determination.
As far as scaring us in the States with "Putin will annexPoland, Finland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia or Georgia (all NATO members, except Japan), like he did in Republic of Crimea"...this is far fetched fantasy. RF neither need them, nor they can afford any conflicts with NATO countries. Japan, which is our unsinkable air carrier, will never be attacked and has one issue with Moscow - Sakhalin and Kuril islands. I hope that meeting in Minsk will result in positive outcome for all parties.
Your expectations are plausible,but not reasonable..you expect weapons, NATO attack, US involvement in Ukraine over East or Republic of Crimea..they only will push EU,US and RF into major global war, which I believe , nobody wants. I have high hopes for all attending this Summit in Minsk and wish them success.Cheers!


by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
August 26, 2014 4:08 PM
Putin insisted that Russians be permitted to meet peacefully with representatives of the Russian-speaking population in eastern Ukraine............Could someone tell Mr Putin that he can't RULE Russia and Ukraine ??he simply can't .

In Response

by: John Null
August 27, 2014 3:17 AM
I think he means establishing non-visa cross border visits, like we have with Canada ( but not with Mexico:))..need a visa, even though they are a members of NAFTA.


by: Valerian Grabovski
August 26, 2014 3:33 PM
FIRST:you should know mr. putin that not anywhere where ruSSian people live the land is their own !!!
SECOND mr. putin: ruSSian people(persons) need to learn one simple rule that is: if you obey the laws of the country of residence- you have not sorrow in y'r fate


by: rangla from: india
August 26, 2014 3:27 PM
Its the right time for putin to take decisive action to end the conflict.y mr president of ukrain keep on killing people.they have the right to decide there future.killing and fighting ll only make the people felt alienated from mainstream ukrain.its a political problem.by following the west ukrain have nothing to gain.as we know wel the west and nato themes is take and forget.go ahead mr putin.

In Response

by: Max from: Ukraine
August 26, 2014 4:19 PM
Listen, you've been informed incorrectly. Ukrainian president tries to stop the war, but Russia tries to cut a part of our territory sending there troops and weapon through not controlled part of border. Russians kill us, our army. We just protect our land.
Read about Georgian conflict in 2008 - putin took Abhazia and S.Osetia as russian-controlled territory. The same is in Moldova. That is buffer zone, where he wants to base its russian army.


by: Ivan Gorokhov
August 26, 2014 3:16 PM
Putler has to be stopped.

Ukrainian people are not the first and not the last Putler will try to conquer unless he is stopped. The more countries he conquers - the more powerful the thug will become and more difficult it will be to stop him in the future.


by: Roge from: Ukraine
August 26, 2014 2:21 PM
Until this conflict in eastern Ukraine,I have thought that the west is strong and nothing can change my mind...but this was wrong. The west is weak,every country,even those of NATO is feared no to spend more than its neighbor on defense,EU is not united,everybody plays his game. Ukraine defined itself as part of EU and in recent decade it did everything possible to come closer to the moment,when it would become one of the member of EU,but Russia does not want that to happen. In some sense EU and USA betrayed Ukraine. I think its reaction on Crimea annexation and sending troops and weapons in eastern Ukraine must be more harsher. NATO is going to defense Baltic country,which once wanted to be a part of EU. Now Ukraine wants to follow the same path but nobody gives a shit what happens with Ukraine in months to come....

In Response

by: Awenmyst from: Montana USA
August 26, 2014 4:37 PM
I wouldn't say that the west is so much weak as it having to go through a political landmine. You have to remember that the west is beholding to voters who may or may not be wanting to be involved....that and remember Europe is largely held hostage due to reliance on Russian natural gas....But that being said, public opinion is changing and mark my words, Russia keeps bullying the Ukraine, it will pay a heavy price.....

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid