France to host Putin, Zelensky in bid to end Ukraine conflict
France to host Putin, Zelensky in bid to end Ukraine conflict

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris on December 9 for their first face-to-face encounter, seeking to end the half-decade conflict in Ukraine, the French presidency said on November 15.

The leaders will join French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the four-way summit aimed at resolving the conflict in the east of Ukraine, where pro-Moscow separatists have declared breakaway regions, the Elysee Palace said.

Macron, who has been spearheading a drive for peace in Ukraine, had hoped to host the summit in September but it was held up by numerous obstacles that highlighted the difficulty of resolving the conflict.

The Elysee said there had been “major progress” recently in talks between the sides, which had allowed troops to pull back from some key conflict areas. The presidency said the meeting “will allow the opening of a new series of steps to put in place the Minsk agreements” of 2014 and 2015 which sought to end the conflict but have yet to be properly implemented.

The Ukrainian presidency confirmed the date of the meeting, adding that Macron has spoken to Zelensky by telephone. The meeting between Putin and Zelensky has been highly anticipated for months after the former comedian came to power in May on the back of pledges to bring peace while regaining Kiev’s control over the breakaway regions, as reported by CNA.