Ukraine truce hangs in balance after ‘difficult’ talks
The latest push for peace in Ukraine appeared moribund on Thursday after initial talks failed to agree when the warring sides should meet again to try ending their eight-month conflict.
Negotiations mediated by European and Russian envoys in the Belarussian capital Minsk broke up after more than five hours on Wednesday with the pro-Russian rebels reporting little to no progress.
That scuppered a plan for both sides to gather again on Friday in order to sign a comprehensive agreement reinforcing a September 5 truce deal that was followed by 1,300 more deaths.
The chief negotiator for eastern Ukraine's self-declared Donetsk People's Republic said he could not disclose the “difficult” talks' details because all sides preferred to keep their differences private. But he stressed there was no guarantee that the contacts would resume any time soon.
“We had a difficult preliminary meeting,” Denis Pushilin told a pro-rebel news website. “The date and time of the next meeting is still up in the air. It is under discussion,” Pushilin said.
The Belarussian foreign ministry added that “the date of the next meeting will be announced later”.
Neither Ukrainian officials nor the Russian and European envoys spoke to reporters waiting outside the gated Belarussian state mansion that hosted the negotiations.
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