// Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande are trying to mediate between Ukrainian President Poroshenko and Russian president Putin to stop the bloodshed in Eastern Ukraine where nobody observes the cease-fire. On the contrary the fighting intensifies each day. There were no direct talks between Putin and Poroshenko despite the ongoing crisis.
The UN estimates that at least 5,358 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine and 12,235 have been wounded since last April and almost a million people have been forced to leave their homes because of the war.
According to the UN data “a recent uptick in fighting in eastern Ukraine between Government and anti-Government forces has seen casualty figures spike with 224 civilians killed and 545 wounded in the three weeks leading up to 1 February.”
About the displaced people, de UNHCR estimates that there are at least 980,000 internally displaced people, “expecting that figure to rise as fighting continues“ and more homes and other civilian infrastructure are damaged or destroyed. And there are many people trapped in their basements under the constant bombings
Currently, over 600,000 Ukrainians have fled the country, seeking refuge in neighbouring countries, particularly the Russian Federation, but also Belarus, Moldova, Poland, Hungary and Romania, since February 2014, de UNHCR says.
Merkel and Hollande have been negotiating five hours with Poroshenko in Kiev and another five hours with Putin in Moscow to see how to implement the Minsk agreements and a real cease fire.
They ended with a cautious optimism. The Kremlin said that the conversations were “constructive and substantive”.
Now they are working in a joint document “that would include the Ukrainian president’s proposals and proposals formulated and added today by Russian President Vladimir Putin,” the Kremlin’s spokesman explained.
The text is supposed to be presented to all conflicting parties for endorsement, he said.
“Then the work will be continued, and its preliminary outcomes will be summed up in a top-level telephone conversation in the Normandy format on Sunday,” concluded.
What the people in Eastern Ukraine need is not cautious optimism, nor “Constructive and substantive” conversations with mediators. They need a positive agreement among the Ukrainian government, Putin and the rebels with serious commitment from all sides in order to stop the fighting immediately and begin to negotiate a real peace agreement.