Pro-Russian separatists are meeting with Ukraine and Europe’s OSCE security watchdog in Minsk. They’re expected to discuss a stage-by-stage peace plan for Ukraine.
No major decision was reached when the so-called contact group met on Monday, however both sides are expected to announce a ceasefire after today’s talks.
Ukraine’s president has voiced careful optimism about the Minsk meeting. He stressed the importance of the OSCE’s role in monitoring any ceasefire.
Earlier, Ukraine said its forces were trying to push back a big offensive by the separatists to take Maripol, a port city about halfway between Russia and Russian-annexed Crimea.
Analysts say if Mariupol is seized by the rebels, it could serve as a base to build a land bridge with Crimea.