President Putin has confirmed he is travelling to Minsk for crucial peace talks with Ukrainian, French and German leaders.
Point of view
The presidents aren't travelling for no reason.
The presence of the leaders has raised a sliver of hope that a deal may be brokered after a Russian diplomatic source said, “The presidents aren’t travelling for no reason.”
The talks hinge on re-establishing a ceasefire that lasts, the withdrawal of heavy weapons and Kyiv’s consent to give autonomy to Russian-speaking regions, a crucial points for the pro-Russian rebels on the eve of the summit.
A failure to reach a deal could lead to an escalation of the conflict which has already claimed 5,000 lives since it began in April last year.
The meeting is being seen as a last ditch diplomatic push, as the US considers sending weapons to Kyiv, though last night Obama emphasised the need for a political solution in a phone call with Putin.