SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2019
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Poroshenko meets Trumps ally on Donbass
Journal Staff Report

KYIV, Jan. 23 - President Petro Poroshenko has met with U.S. President Donald Trump's special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, in Kyiv to discuss the conflict in eastern Ukraine, RFE/RL reported.

According to a statement posted on Poroshenko's website, the two men expressed "serious concern" about Russia's lack of progress in implementing the Minsk agreements during the January 23 meeting.

In a post on Twitter, Volker said he "had a good conversation" with Poroshenko, adding that he will travel to Dubai later this week to meet with Russian diplomats.

Poroshenko's statement said that the solidification of the cease-fire in eastern Ukraine and the "withdrawal of Russian occupation forces from Ukraine" are now "absolute priorities."

Kyiv has been fighting against Russia-backed separatists in parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine since early 2014.

Although Moscow denies interfering in Ukraine's domestic affairs, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in November 2016 determined the conflict to be "an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation."

The conflict has left more than 10,300 people dead and some 1.6 million people displaced.

Volker is scheduled to hold a new round of talks with Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov in Dubai on Jan. 26, the Voice of America reported Monday.

Volker is supposed to arrive in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday and stop in Kyiv on Thursday, before heading to Dubai to discuss the war in eastern Ukraine and prospects for the introduction and possible format of the peacekeeping mission.

Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, who confirmed the meeting at a Monday press conference, said he's eager to see how talks go after Washington's recent unveiling of new sanctions against Russia.

Kyiv, he said, is curious to see "how we can use new U.S. sanctions" to forge some kind of sustainable peace plan. (rfe/ez)

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