Ukraine as it happened: UN envoy chased in Crimea, Russia-US talks in Paris

Ukraine as it happened: UN envoy chased in Crimea, Russia-US talks in Paris
By Euronews
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Ukraine has accepted to start direct talks with Moscow and to receive soon an international observers’ mission in the Eastern areas of the country and in Crimea. The decision was taken today in Paris, during a meeting between the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, William Hague, and the Acting Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Andriy Deshchytsia.

But a meeting between the Ukrainian and the Russian Foreign Ministers was still on hold, Wednesday evening, as Serguei Lavrov and John Kerry were meeting in Paris to try to reach an agreement.

Ukraine’s foreign minister said on Wednesday he wanted to press for a peaceful solution to the conflict with Russia as Russian Foreign Minister, Lavrov, assured “Russia doesn’t want a bloodshed in Ukraine”.

As diplomatic maneuvers continue in Paris, and tomorrow in Brussels, the Pentagon decided to step up military support to Poland in the brink of the Ukrainian tension.

President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the crisis in Ukraine could have a negative effect on the Customs Union linking Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and called for measures to protect the three nations’ producers and exporters.

The high chamber of the Russian parliament is reportedly preparing a draft law in case of EU and US sanctions against the country. According to the Russian news agency Itar-Tass, the proposal previews to freeze US and EU assets. A decision that coincides with the diplomatic efforts to ease the tension in Ukraine in Paris and Brussels, where EU leaders will meet this Thursday to discuss the possibility to impose sanctions to Russia.

In the eastern areas of Ukraine, pro-russian protesters stormed again the government headquarters in Donetsk on Wednesday, raising again a Russian flag. There are reports of clashes in Donetsk, as the UN envoy to Ukraine had to cancel his mission in Crimea, after being chased by pro-russian protesters in Simferopol.

In Brussels, the European Union said it was ready to provide 11 billion euros ($15 billion) of financial support to Ukraine over the next couple of years via a series of loans and
grants, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Wednesday. The assistance would be delivered in coordination with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank, and is in part contingent on Ukraine signing a deal with the International Monetary Fund.

[View the story "Ukraine live: Russia to meet with NATO partners in Brussels" on Storify]

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