Foreign ministers from Germany, France, Russia, and Ukraine have announced some progress at urgent talks in Berlin on the crisis in eastern Ukraine.
A procedure for the withdrawal of heavy weapons from a demarcation line has been proposed which should establish security zones between pro-Russian fighters and Kyiv’s forces.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeir spoke for his colleagues:
“After the meeting of the contact group we will see whether it actually comes to a withdrawal of heavy weaponry We are relying on this and Russia in particular has agreed to exercise the necessary leverage on the separatists in east Ukraine.”
Serious concern was also expressed that fighting in eastern Ukraine had severely escalated causing the loss of many human lives.
In particular around Donetsk airport which was built just three years ago and has become the symbol of the broader fight still raging in spite of a ceasefire first signed in Minsk last September..
On Wednesday Ukrainian media sources said that rebels had finally over run the facility citing dozens of unconfirmed casualties among Ukrainian troops.
Kyiv has repeatedly called on Russia to withdraw its troops from eastern Ukraine accusing it of having more than 9.000 tanks, and other heavy weapons in the region – something which Moscow denies.
Ministers admitted that more tangible progress would have to be made before the next planned summit could take place.