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Poroshenko, Merkel/Hollande to meet Monday as Ukraine fighting escalates

As the fighting in eastern Ukraine continues to escalate, Chancellor Merkel, President Hollande and President Poroshenko have proposed holding a trilateral meeting in Berlin on Monday 24 August, the Russian, Romanian, Cypriot and Slovenian media report on Thursday. However, such a meeting seems futile without Russia’s participation, Dnevnik writes in Slovenia.

Monday’s meeting also coincides with the Ukrainian Independence Day, which could trigger new clashes in the separatist east, Dnevnik adds. Kiev sources say that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko hopes to prepare German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande for possible changes in Ukraine’s approach to the Minsk agreements, Russia’s Kommersant reports.

After this mini-summit, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will visit Brussels by the end of this month to discuss the situation in the conflict eastern part of the country, a Spokesperson for the European Commission (EC) announced, BNR reports in Bulgaria. This decision was made after the Ukrainian President spoke on the phone with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday.

On the ground, both camps are becoming more and more agitated as the Ukrainian Independence Day rapidly approaches Vincent Georis comments in Belgian L’Echo. Over the past ten days, violence has been flaring up and OECD observers have been harassed. European Commission spokesperson Catherine Ray stated: “we condemn this violence and call on all parties to respect the Minsk agreements of February”, L’Echo reports.

The announced participation of Serbia in Russia’s autumn military exercises was met with disapproval in Brussels, Dnevnik writes in Slovenia. Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson for European Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner Hahn, said to online outlet EurActiv that “under the current circumstances, such a joint military exercise would send the wrong signal”.

Meanwhile, NATO is carrying out its biggest air drill since the end of the Cold War, Romania Libera reports, to discourage any aggression from Russia. According to the European Leadership Network, large-scale military exercises by both NATO and Russia indicate that both parties are preparing for a confrontation, NRC Next indicates in the Netherlands. Furthermore, Stratfor warns that the Russia-West confrontation may shift from Ukraine to the Caucasus: to Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Sputniknews reports in Russia. The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began in the spring of 2014, has so far claimed 6,800 lives.

 

 

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