Leaders scramble to avert 'dramatic spiral' in Ukraine




 
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February 9th, 2015  
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Topic: Leaders scramble to avert 'dramatic spiral' in Ukraine


By Noah Barkin and Lesley Wroughton MUNICH (Reuters) - The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France agreed to meet in Belarus on Wednesday to try to broker a peace deal for Ukraine amid escalating violence there and signs of cracks in the transatlantic consensus on confronting Vladimir Putin. The four leaders held a call on Sunday, two days after Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande traveled to Moscow for talks with Putin that produced no breakthrough in the nearly year-long conflict that has claimed over 5,000 lives. After the call, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko said progress had been made and that he was hopeful the meeting in Minsk would lead to a "swift and unconditional ceasefire" in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have stepped up a military offensive in recent weeks, seizing new territory.




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