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Summit Produces Cease-Fire

There's no breakthrough in Russia-Ukraine talks mediated by Macron and Merkel
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2019 6:31 PM CST
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, left, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a news conference Monday at the Elysee Palace...   (Charles Platiau/Pool via AP)

(Newser) – Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky agreed Monday to put a cease-fire in place in eastern Ukraine by the end of the month. The deal was reached in Paris, where the presidents of Russia and Ukraine met in talks led by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. A prisoner swap also will take place, the leaders said, and Ukraine will pull forces back from three areas on the front line, the BBC reports. Rebel forces supported by Russia have been battling Ukraine troops for more than five years, fighting that has killed 14,000 people.

But overall, the meeting was only a limited success; major issues remain unresolved. "We unblocked dialogue with Russia, a positive step," Zelensky said, per the Wall Street Journal. "Unfortunately, we couldn’t settle all issues today." A timeline on local elections and control of the borders in the area held by the rebels are among the unsettled matters, per the AP. Much of the discussion Monday revolved around getting the 2015 peace agreement back on track. Zelensky and Putin agreed to meet again in search of a breakthrough in four months, and Macron and Merkel agreed to increase European monitoring of the conflict. Just getting the two leaders to meet in person was an accomplishment, Macron and Merkel said. Zelensky is new to the job, and Macron praised his handling of the negotiations. (Demonstrators had called on Zelensky to stand up to Putin.)

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