Leaders scramble to save Ukraine ceasefire deal

World Today

The foreign ministers of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine said the terms of the Ukrainian ceasefire must be observed starting immediately. They were also calling for more support for international monitors, but they have few answers as to how to make it all happen.

CCTV’s Kate Parkinson filed this report from Paris.

Leaders scramble to save Ukraine ceasefire deal

Leaders scramble to save Ukraine ceasefire deal

The foreign ministers of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine said the terms of the Ukrainian ceasefire must be observed starting immediately. They were also calling for more support for international monitors, but they have few answers as to how to make it all happen. CCTV's Kate Parkinson filed this report from Paris.

It has been less than two weeks since the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France hammered out a ceasefire agreement in Minsk and already their top diplomats are scrambling to save the deal.

After three hours of talks, the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said they all agreed that a “total ceasefire” must be enforced in eastern Ukraine. “The four ministers call for the strict implementation of all provisions of the Minsk agreement starting from a comprehensive ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons. We call upon the earliest possible conclusion of the plans for withdrawal of heavy weapons and their full implementation,” Fabius said.

Continuing clashes have delayed the pull-back of heavy weapons due to start a week ago under the peace plan. The rebels have claimed several times that they have started to withdraw arms, but this has not been confirmed by monitors from the European security watchdog.

Kiev refused to withdraw its big guns from the frontline until the shooting stops.

“While attacks on positions of Ukrainian servicemen and shelling of peaceful areas and residential areas continue, there can be no withdrawal of heavy weaponry.” Ukrainian Military Spokesperson Andriy Lysenko said.

The Paris talks also focused on the town of Debaltseve which was seized by pro-Russian rebels last week in defiance of the ceasefire. Kiev has accused Moscow and pro-Russian rebels on the ground of torpedoing the truce. Ukraine’s loss of Debaltseve was a source of tension in the French capital.

“Unfortunately, there was no political agreement on how to condemn what happened in Debaltseve, all tragic events and all infringements for ceasefire.” Ukrainian Foreign Minster Pavlo Klimkin said.

After another day of diplomacy, the peace deal remains fragile and the tensions between Kiev and Moscow remain high. There was no joint press conference at the end of the meeting, a sign perhaps of how difficult the talks were. Despite the joint call for a total ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons there seems to have been little progress made in Paris on how to implement that.


William Courtney of RAND discusses Ukraine peace talks

CCTV America interviewed William Courtney on this issue. He’s an adjunct senior fellow at the RAND Corporation, a global policy think tank and a former U.S. Ambassador to Georgia and Kazakhstan.

William Courtney of RAND discusses Ukraine peace talks

William Courtney of RAND discusses Ukraine peace talks

CCTV America interviewed William Courtney on this issue. He's an adjunct senior fellow at the RAND Corporation, a global policy think tank and a former U.S. Ambassador to Georgia and Kazakhstan.