Day one of the NATO summit has seen the alliance’s members promise that more sanctions are on the way for Russia unless it changes course in Ukraine.
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko had separate talks with the G5 leaders; Britain, the US, Germany, France and Italy, and talks continue to search for a deal beyond the ceasefire that should start on Friday.
“Russian troops are illegally in Ukraine. The extremist Islamist threat has risen in a new form in Iraq and Syria. These are just two of the threats that we face. NATO is the anchor of our security and over the next two days we must reinvigorate and refocus this alliance to tackle new threats and to ensure it continues to foster stability around the world,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Friday ceasefire is conditional on attendance at tripartite talks in Minsk on the same day between Ukraine, Russia, and the OSCE.
Of the big European players, Germany has the most to lose but Angela Merkel is prepared to vote with her colleagues while still keeping lines of communication open with Vladimir Putin.
“If the Minsk meeting goes ahead I will tell the army general staff to order a bilateral ceasefire. I hope the implementation of the peace plan will begin tomorrow,” said Petro Poroshenko.
The peace plan is Vladimir Putin’s seven-point agenda, which would see Russian-speaking rebels hang onto parts of Ukraine, a tenth of its population, and much of its heavy industry in exchange for an end to the fighting.