PM hails ‘positive’ Ukraine talks

Published: Friday 17th October 2014 by The News Editor

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David Cameron has welcomed “positive” talks with Russia over the Ukraine crisis but warned Moscow that sanctions will not be eased unless it takes more decisive action to end the conflict.

The Prime Minister was one of several European Union leaders who joined a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, in Milan.

A ceasefire deal was signed in Minsk in September but more than 300 people have been killed in continued clashes with pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country since then.

Moscow denies arming the rebel forces in the face of what Western governments say is clear evidence to the contrary.

“Vladimir Putin said very clearly that he doesn’t want a frozen conflict, he doesn’t want a divided Ukraine,” Mr Cameron said after the talks in the margins of the Asia Europe Meeting.

“But if that is the case then Russia needs to take the action to put in place all that has been agreed – getting Russian troops out of Ukraine, getting heavy weapons out of Ukraine, respecting all the agreements and only recognising one legitimate set of Ukrainian elections,” he told reporters.

“If those things don’t happen then the European Union, Britain included, must keep in place the sanctions and the pressure so that we don’t have this kind of conflict in our continent.”

French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi were also part of the latest peace push – which also focused on a gas dispute which has raised fears of energy supplies to Europe being affected.

A series of economic sanctions have been imposed by the EU and Washington to punish Mr Putin’s regime for its annexation of Crimea and support for the separatists, whom Moscow denies arming.

At the weekend Mr Putin pulled back 17,600 Russian troops from the border region with Ukraine in an apparent show of goodwill ahead of a diplomatic push.

Published: Friday 17th October 2014 by The News Editor

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