In Digest, Ukraine

RT.com, Jan 13, 2015 (with video news report)

The foreign ministers of Russia, Germany, France, and Ukraine spent three hours behind closed doors discussing the Ukraine crisis on Monday, and may meet again next week if progress is reached over the next few days in resolving remaining disagreements.

Foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France met in Berlin Jan 12, 2015

Foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France met in Berlin Jan 12, 2015

After the meeting in Berlin on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the political process to end the Ukraine crisis will only succeed if Kiev treats the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk Republics as equal partners.

“It was stressed that the political process can be successful only when you start a direct dialogue, in this case between the representatives of the Ukrainian government and the proclaimed DPR and LPR, and they should feel fully involved in the political process as equal partners,” Lavrov said.

Following the meeting, the four ministers called on the contact group of Ukraine, Russia, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to try to make progress on implementing the Ukraine peace deal agreed in September, including creating the “relevant conditions for an effective ceasefire,” the joint statement reads.

Ukrainian soldiers gather close to the frontline in the eastern Ukrainian city of Debaltseve, Donetsk region, on December 24,2014. (AFP Photo/Sergei Supinsky)

Ukrainian soldiers gather close to the frontline in the eastern Ukrainian city of Debaltseve, Donetsk region, on December 24,2014. (AFP Photo/Sergei Supinsky)

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that while the session was a“very open exchange,”it did not produce enough results for a meeting of the leaders of Russia, Germany, Ukraine, and France this week in Kazakhstan.

Steinmeier said that representatives from foreign ministries would continue work to find common ground. The foreign ministers of the Normandy Quartet might also hold another meeting next week if “progress is achieved in the coming days.”

The so-called Normandy Quartet was established in June when Russian, French, German, and Ukrainian leaders met in northern France’s Normandy to discuss and find a political solution to the Ukrainian crisis.

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See also:

* Excerpt from: Kiev may again use force in eastern Ukraine, RT.com, Jan 12, 2015

“We have quite alarming information – we are trying to verify it right now – that [Ukrainian] forces are planning in the near future another attempt to solve the crisis by force,” [Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov] said, stressing “this would be a catastrophe.”

According to Lavrov, Moscow has information that Ukraine is mobilizing troops. “Various numbers are reported. From 50,000 to over 200,000 people should be mobilized in the army and other security forces.”

Ukrainian authorities have denied the claim, stressing that its military is observing the Minsk agreements, RIA Novosti reported.

Lavrov said Moscow hopes the West won’t let Kiev resort to force.

* Volunteer battalion Sich made up of Svoboda members, uncontrolled by Kiev, launches a new round of hostilities in Donetsk, from DNR News, Jan 12, 2015, translated from Russian by Kristina Rus on Fort Russ blog

A Donetsk Republic representative of the contact group in resolving the situation in Donbass, Denis Pushilin, said that Donetsk is being shelled by uncontrolled Kiev junta punitive battalion “Sich”, writes Donetsk News Agency.

“Shelling by the Ukrainian battalion ‘Sich’ is coming from the village of Peski, Donetsk. The leadership of the battalion has openly stated that it is not subject to the orders of Kiev officials. And they are provoking our militia to answer back”, – Pushilin was quoted by the Agency.

The punitive battalion ‘Sich’ was created from radical activists of the Svoboda” (Freedom) party in the summer of 2014. Currently, it is based in the village of Peski. The battalion has its own history. During World War One, a unit with the same name fought on the side of Austria-Hungary against Russia.

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