US, French, German leaders head to Ukraine to combat growing crisis

World Today

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are in Kiev to present an initiative for peace to end the Ukraine crisis. They are scheduled to head to Russia next to propose their plan in Moscow. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also visited Ukraine in a show of support. CCTV’s Kate Parkinson reported this story from Kiev.

Diplomatic efforts to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine intensified Thursday. Secretary Kerry was the first to arrive in Kiev for talks. After meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Kerry called for concrete actions to end the conflict.

German and French leaders push Ukraine peace plan in Moscow

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are in Kiev to present an initiative for peace to end the Ukraine crisis. They are scheduled to head to Russia next to propose their plan in Moscow. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also visited Ukraine in a show of support. CCTV's Kate Parkinson reported this story from Kiev.

“There must be an immediate commitment, now, to a real ceasefire which is not just a piece of paper and words, but which is followed up by specific actions, namely: pull back the heavy weapons from the ceasefire line, from the border, beyond the range of artillery, beyond the range of certain munitions to be able to do harm to civilians,” Kerry said.

Kerry’s visit to Ukraine came amid mounting speculation that the United States may be considering sending arms to prop-up Kiev’s troops as they battle pro-independence separatists in the east of the country.

The Secretary of State said the U.S. is seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis, but added it will not close its eyes to Russian tanks and fighters coming across the border.

In a new push for peace, the leaders of France and Germany were hot on Kerry’s heels arriving in Kiev later in the day, armed with a proposal to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

The surprise visit by the French and German leaders appeared aimed to divert from the U.S. considerations to give Ukraine lethal weapons. The European leaders are set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday in Moscow.

The flurry of high-level diplomacy came amid renewed fighting in eastern Ukraine.

There seems to be a divergence of opinion among Kiev’s allies on how to resolve the conflict. While there has been growing talk of Washington arming Ukrainian forces and European nations are strongly opposed to directly arm Ukraine, European nations fear arming Ukraine will escalate the standoff with Russia.