The ‘never-ending’ meeting lasted until this morning: “difficult talks” ended with the awareness that it will be necessary to hold other meetings to achieve some tangible results. Still, there was a positive sign: Kiev recognized as “humanitarian aid” the Red Cross cargoes coming from Russia, which have been blocked for days at the border in a long-distance duel between Moscow and Kiev. Ukraine had in fact claimed suspects about the real content of the convoys sent by Russia to held the south-east of the country, devastated by the ongoing war. This is the main step forward obtained by the talks held overnight among the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation, Germany, France and Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Minister for Social Policies, Lyudmyla Denisova, signed in fact an order recognizing the Russia cargoes as humanitarian aid. According to this statement by the Ukrainian government, these cargoes are “in accordance with articles 4 and 5 of the Law of Ukraine on Humanitarian considering the initiative of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on receiving humanitarian aid within the framework of international humanitarian missions under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross.” The aid includes tinned meat, rice, buckwheat, caster sugar, salt, tea, condensed milk, water, child food, sleeping bags and medicines with no narcotic substance. The total load weighs about 1,900 tons.
Apart from this, few has been achieved on the Ukrainian crisis during the talks. No progress has been made on a possible ceasefire nor on the beginning of peace talks, as confirmed by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: “One place where we cannot report positive results is, first and foremost, establishing a ceasefire and starting a political process,” explained the Minister during a press conference. “Five hours of difficult talks, we need to meet again for getting some results” tweeted Pavlo Klimkin, Ukrainian Foreign Minister. Frank Walter Steinmeier, host of the meeting and head of German diplomacy, talked about tough negotiations, but highlighted that the meeting left the door open for future agreements: “Difficult talks, but I think and hope we made step forward on some points,” commented Steinmeier. After the reports to their respective governments, Monday or Tuesday will see the decisions on whether negotiations should continue and how. The target is reaching first a truce in Donbass in order to fix the humanitarian emergency.
The Eastern region in fact is still devastated by the offensive of Ukrainian troops. The army is engaged in the (crucial) phase of giving the final hit to separatists who have lost the control of several cities lately. Despite the shooting down of a Ukrainian jet in fact, pro-Russian rebels do not seem to be able to hold for a long time the advance of the national army. Still the situation in the south-east cities is getting more and more terrible for their population: ten civilians died yesterday in Donetsk, an in Lugansk as well, and water is getting scarce. The number of victims so far is appalling: 2,100 in Donbass only. Separatists are now sheltered behind the two main cities and few other centres. According to Andrei Lysenko, spokesperson of the National Security Council, rebels are even going to retire completely from the Donetsk region and move to Lugansk, more on the east, where they control the border with Russia. Insurgents have instead said they are going to keep up with their battle.