Ukraine, Russia agree to restart peace process
Ukraine and Russia reportedly agreed to restart the peace process in discussions in Paris on Monday, though they made little progress on ending hostilities in the Donbass region.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for the first time and decided to revive peace discussions on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the Associated Press reported. The talks involve the previously stalled 2015 peace agreement between Ukrainian troops and Russia-backed separatists.
But the leaders did not come to a conclusion on an ultimate compromise for the five-year war that has left at least 14,000 dead.
The two settled on exchanging all prisoners but did not determine a timeline on local elections or who controls the borders where rebels reside. The presidents decided to return in four months with newly proposed solutions, according to the AP.
Putin reportedly said there is not an option beyond the 2015 deal and said Ukraine should give autonomy to rebel-controlled regions and grant amnesty to the rebels. He said the agreement also involved pulling troops back in other areas of the east, clearing mines and get rid of fortifications.
“I would very much like our people to get back home and spend the New Year’s holidays with their families,” Zelensky said, according to the AP.
The meeting was mediated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, who called the talks “fruitful.”
“There are disagreements, especially on timeline and next steps. We had a very long discussion on this,” Macron said at a news conference Monday, according to the AP.
Macron and Merkel also reportedly said they would increase the monitoring by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an intergovernmental organization, to 24 hours a day, up from 12.