The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has told MEPs in Strasbourg that Wednesday’s Ukraine peace talks represent “a chance that cannot be missed”.
She was speaking on the eve of a summit due to bring together the
leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.
Mogherini said the summit was “a chance that cannot be missed…for the people that are losing their lives, for the principles of international law, for the sovereignty of a state and for preserving and restoring peace in Europe.”
While she hopes that the latest Minsk talks will put last year’s Minsk deal into practice, all eyes will be on Russian President Vladimir Putin to see if he is prepared to accept the peace proposals on the table.
“Putin has to prove that he is honest,” Dutch MEP Johannes Cornelis van Baalen of the Liberal Group told euronews.
“If Putin proves not to be honest, there will be a lot of things which have to be done but I don’t speculate now on that. I am optimistic because I want to be.”
A very different voice has also been heard in Strasbourg – that of Alexey Pushkov, the head of the foreign affairs committee of Russia’s lower house of parliament, who has been addressing MEPs.
While welcoming the latest peace efforts in Europe, he has warned of a dangerous escalation if the United States decides to supply weapons to Ukraine.