EU, US Reaffirm Urgent Need for Peaceful Solution to Ukrainian Crisis

Ukraine | February 5, 2015, Thursday // 21:50|  views

Local citizens sit in a busawaiting evacuation from Debaltseve, in Donetsk area, Ukraine, 3 February 2015. Photo EPA/BGNES

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and US State Secretary John Kerry all visited Ukraine on Thursday in an effort to seek an urgently needed peaceful solution to the conflict ravaging the country.

Speaking at a pressconference with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Kerry assured that the US was seeking a peaceful solution through diplomacy, the BBC reports.

The State Secretary accused Russia of violating Ukrainian sovereignty and revealed that the US was still reviewing options for supplying Kiev with defensive weapons.

At a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Kerry reminded that Kiev had committed itself to holding fair elections in Donbas and extending the region’s political rights, TASS agency reports.

On Thursday afternoon Poroshenko received Merkel and Hollande, who presented a new peace proposal based on Ukraine’s territorial integrity, which could be “acceptable to all”.

Merkel and Hollande are travelling to Moscow on Friday, where they are to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, who called for finding “the fastest possible end to the civil war”.

All these developments come as NATO’s defence ministers approved on Thursday the immediate establishment of six command centres on its eastern flank.

The Alliance also agreed to increase its Response Force to a total of 30 000 people through the establishment of a very high readiness Spearhead Force, numbering 5000 troops.

In the meantime, the EU extended its sanctions against Russian citizens and entities, a decision that had been taken at the meeting of the Union’s foreign ministers last week.

The latest surge in violence in Ukraine has centred around the town of Debaltseve, a key road and rail hub between the rebel-held territories of Donetsk and Luhansk. 

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Tags: Debaltseve, sanctions, Spearhead Force, Response Force, command centres, proposal, peace, John Kerry, francois hollande, Angela Merkel, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko, NATO, US, EU, Russia, Ukraine


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