Leaders hold Ukraine peace talks as fighting surges

Updated: 2015-02-12 09:00


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Leaders hold Ukraine peace talks as fighting surges

Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko (L), Russia's President Vladimir Putin (2nd L), Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (R), Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) and France's President Francois Hollande pose for a family photo during peace talks in Minsk, February 11, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

MINSK - The leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine held peace talks in Belarus on Wednesday.

Fighting has already killed more than 5,000 people, and Washington is now openly talking of arming Ukraine, raising the prospect of a war in the heart of Europe.

The summit was being held in neighbouring Belarus under a Franco-German proposal to try to halt the fighting. Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande began talks with Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko and Russia's Vladimir Putin.

The leaders were planning to sign a joint declaration supporting Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty, a Ukrainian delegation source said.

The source said a separate document would be prepared by a "contact group" of Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe affirming commitment to a ceasefire plan drawn up in Minsk last September and also signed by separatist leaders.

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