Ukraine crisis takes center stage at Munich Security Conference

World Today

Clear divisions have emerged at the Munich Security Conference between Berlin and Washington over the issue of arming Ukraine in its fight against pro-Russia separatists. However, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Washington fully supports a new cease-fire agreement being driven by the leaders of Germany and France. CCTV’s Jack Barton reported the story from Munich.

Ukraine crisis takes center stage at Munich Security Conference

Clear divisions have emerged at the Munich Security Conference between Berlin and Washington over the issue of arming Ukraine in its fight against pro-Russia separatists. However, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Washington fully supports a new cease-fire agreement being driven by the leaders of Germany and France. CCTV's Jack Barton reported the story from Munich.

Fresh from talks in Moscow with President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said an agreement on a fresh ceasefire in Ukraine was still uncertain.

“I can say that after the discussion of yesterday in Moscow, it is uncertain whether it will lead to success, but from my point of view and that of the French President, it is definitely worth trying,” the chancellor said.

Merkel ruled out sending arms to Ukraine, provoking clear displeasure from the country’s President Petro Poroshenko. Poroshenko and Washington argue sanctions have failed to alter the policies of Moscow, which they allege continues to send troops and arms to Ukraine.

“I take with me the passport and military I.D. of Russian soldiers, Russian officers, who come to us and leave it,” Poroshenko said. “This is the best evidence for the aggression and for the presence of Russian troops.”

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Washington backs the proposed new peace deal, but disagreed with Germany and some other European countries on the issue of military assistance.

“We will continue to provide Ukraine with security assistance, not to encourage war but to allow Ukraine to defend itself,” the vice president said.

The statements came between face-to-face meetings aimed at ending the renewed bloodshed in eastern Ukraine.

No details of the new peace plan were released at the conference on Saturday, but it’s expected to be largely based on the failed September Minsk ceasefire, which Western powers said Moscow never lived up to.

Germany’s chancellor is expected to speak by phone on Sunday to President Poroshenko and U.S. secretary of State John Kerry to see if an agreement can be reached, even as pro-Russia separatists step up their offensive in an attempt to link their two rebel strongholds.