German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host a meeting with the Russian, Ukrainian and French presidents tomorrow to discuss efforts toward peace in eastern Ukraine, their first summit in a year, her office said. Merkel invited Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and French President Francois Hollande to "assess the implementation of the Minsk (peace) agreements since the last meeting and discuss further steps," Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement today. The 2015 Minsk agreement brokered by France and Germany has helped end large-scale battles between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine, but clashes have continued and efforts to reach a political settlement have stalled. The four leaders have held sporadic meetings to discuss the accord's implementation, the last of them in Paris on Oct. 2 last year. The decision to hold the meeting in Berlin follows a flurry of telephone diplomacy over the past week, but host Germany already has downplayed chances of a breakthrough. "If there were such a meeting, no one should expect that it will resolve all the problems," Seibert said yesterday. "From the cease-fire, which isn't really one, to the stalled political process, a lot really is not satisfactory at all," he said. "But Minsk is the only thing we have, the only thing everyone can call on and that sets out a peaceful and political road for everyone.
German, Russian, Ukrainian, French leaders to meet in Berlin