France, Germany, Russia to hold four-way talks on Ukraine in Paris

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France, Germany, Russia To Hold Four-Way Talks On Ukraine In Paris France, Germany, Russia To Hold Four-Way Talks On Ukraine In Paris
Ukrainian soldiers walk in a trench near the front line after Russia has amassed forces and military equipment near the Ukrainian border. Photo: Getty Images
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Thomson Reuters

Political advisers from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany will hold "Normandy format" talks on eastern Ukraine in Paris on January 25th, a source in Russian president Vladimir Putin's administration said on Saturday.

Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukraine's chief negotiator Andriy Yermak, confirmed that a meeting in Paris was planned but told Reuters a preliminary date had been set for January 26th.

The planned talks come amid elevated tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine.

Western countries are concerned by a Russia military build-up on the border and have warned of severe economic consequences if it invades its neighbour. Russia denies it plans to invade Ukraine but is demanding legally binding security guarantees from the United States and NATO.

The four-way Normandy format peace talks are aimed at helping end a long-running conflict in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists.

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Relations between Russia and Ukraine collapsed in 2014 after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine and Moscow-backed forces seized territory in the Donbass region that Kyiv wants back.

Russia's chief negotiator, Dmitry Kozak will take part in the talks from the Russian side, the source added.

Mr Kozak said earlier in January that the meeting would be held by the end of this month.

Britian and US

It comes as British foreign minister Liz Truss is expected to visit Moscow in February for talks with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, the RIA news agency reported citing a diplomatic source.

Mr Lavrov and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made no breakthrough in talks on the issue this week but agreed to keep talking to try to resolve a crisis that has stoked fears of a military conflict.

"The British foreign minister has asked for the opportunity to travel to Moscow for talks with Lavrov. Moscow has agreed for the visit in February," RIA quoted its source as saying.

Russia's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters' request for comment. Britain's foreign ministry declined comment.

A senior British defence ministry source said on Saturday that Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu had also agreed to talks in Moscow with his British counterpart Ben Wallace.

Britain said on Monday it had started supplying Ukraine, which is not a member of the NATO alliance, with anti-tank weapons to help it defend itself from a potential invasion.

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