Russian President Vladimir Putin said the conflict in Ukraine will continue if rival groups there do not agree among themselves, in comments published Monday ahead of a proposed summit with French, German and Ukrainian leaders.
The four leaders had discussed the meeting in a phone call Sunday as part of their efforts to achieve a “comprehensive settlement” in the conflict between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels, Berlin said.
Putin, however, warned that the summit planned in the Belarussian capital Minsk would only take place if the leaders agreed on a “number of points” by then.
The Russian president will be in Egypt on Monday and Tuesday for a meeting with his counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
He gave an interview to the Egyptian state newspaper Al-Ahram ahead of his visit to Cairo, calling on the government in Kiev to “listen to their people”.
afp.com / Ria Novosti / Michael Klimentyev
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, outside Moscow, on February 4, 2015
“It is evident that the crisis will continue until the Ukrainians themselves agree with each other,” he said, according to a transcript released by the presidency.
Fresh fighting in the former Soviet republic claimed 12 civilian lives, separatist and Kiev authorities said, with 12 Ukrainian troops also killed in the last 24 hours.
A previous peace deal agreed in Minsk in September has been largely ignored, with fighting escalating in recent weeks as the rebels push further into government-held territory.
Some 5,400 people have been killed since the start of the conflict in April.