Russia and Ukraine have agreed at talks in Paris that all parties including Russia, Ukraine, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the US, should observe a ceasefire in the east of Ukraine, international media reported.
The development was reported after eight-hour-long talks held in Paris.
A Russian troop build-up close to the border with east of Ukraine has raised fears the Kremlin is planning military intervention in its pro-EU neighbour as Moscow presses demands over NATO’s presence in eastern Europe, AFP reported.
Quoting an aide to French President Emmanuel Macron, who spoke to the new agency on condition of anonymity, stressed that the Paris talks had been about resolving the separatist fighting in eastern Ukraine since 2014, not the threat of a Russian invasion.
But “the question was whether the Russians wanted to signal a thaw”, he said, adding that the “difficult” discussions had ultimately resulted in something positive. “In the current circumstances, we received a good signal,” AFP quoted him as saying.
For the first time since 2019, Ukraine and Russia agreed to sign a joint statement along with France and Germany about the ongoing conflict between Ukrainian forces and separatists in the east of the country.
The four nations have been working towards reaching a peace deal for eastern Ukraine since 2014 and are known collectively as the Normandy Group.
The joint statement committed both sides to “an unconditional respect for the ceasefire” and also said that they would meet again in two weeks’ time in Berlin.