24 January 2018, Wednesday, 0:59

Putin comes to Minsk with hour delay


Russia’s president has arrived in Minsk.

A summit is taking place today in Belarus’ capital of the Customs Union and Ukraine, Interfax reports.

Three European Commissioners will also take part in the meeting - High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht and the deputy chairman of the European Commission, European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger.

This will be second meeting of Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko in the recent three months, organized via the mediation of a third state. However, there is still no official confirmation of whether their separate talk will take place.

First personal meeting between the presidents of the Russian Federation and Ukraine took place in early June at the celebrations of the Normandy landings’ 70th anniversary. Then they only spoke briefly in the presence of Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel and France’s president François Hollande.

Putin also has a number of bilateral meetings scheduled. As Russia president’s press-secretary Dmitry Peskov reported earlier, it is not ruled out that the Russian leader will speak with Ukraine’s president.

“At this meeting, if it does take place, we expect, first of all, an open conversation on the matter of settling the Ukrainian crisis, on humanitarian issues”, - Peskov said.

In general on the agenda of the Minsk summit there are topics of overcoming the humanitarian crisis in the east of Ukraine, and the resumption of a political dialogue in the country. EU representatives also spoke in favor of discussing issues, related to following the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, as well as energy security matters.

To the question, whether the Russian party is ready to discuss the gas topic in Minsk, Russia president’s press-secretary pointed out that “the gas issue is, of course, an important issue of the agenda of our bilateral relations”.

Photo: Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko