German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host a meeting with the Russian, Ukrainian and French presidents on Wednesday to discuss efforts toward peace in eastern Ukraine — their first summit in a year, her office said.
Merkel invited Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and French President François Hollande to “assess the implementation of the Minsk [peace] agreements since the last meeting and discuss further steps,” Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement Tuesday.
The 2015 Minsk agreement brokered by France and Germany has helped end large-scale battles between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine, but clashes have continued and efforts to reach a political settlement have stalled.
The four leaders have held sporadic meetings to discuss the accord’s implementation, the last of them in Paris on Oct. 2 last year.
The decision to hold the Wednesday evening meeting in Berlin follows a flurry of telephone diplomacy over the past week, but host Germany already has downplayed chances of a breakthrough.
“If there were such a meeting, no one should expect that it will resolve all the problems,” Seibert said on Monday.
“From the cease-fire, which isn’t really one, to the stalled political process, a lot really is not satisfactory at all,” he said. “But Minsk is the only thing we have, the only thing everyone can call on and that sets out a peaceful and political road for everyone.”