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There's A Renewed Effort To Stall The War In Ukraine


There is a new effort to stall the war in Ukraine. The fighting between Ukraine's military and pro-Russian separatists has grown increasingly violent. There are more peace talks planned this week involving the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany. And German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be at the White House today meeting with President Obama. We're going to get the view from several capitals this morning - in a moment, Berlin and Washington. We begin in Moscow, where NPR's Corey Flintoff reports President Vladimir Putin seems to be driving a very hard bargain.

COREY FLINTOFF, BYLINE: Russia still officially denies that it has any military forces in Ukraine, but the way these talks are shaping up suggests that Putin has the power to stop hostilities or inflame them at will. The Russian leader held a round of telephone conversations with the leaders of the other three countries yesterday, then announced that a face-to-face meeting could be held this week.



FLINTOFF: "We will aim to meet on Wednesday," he said, "if, by then, we've managed to bring our positions into agreement."

An earlier effort to reconcile those positions failed last week when German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande made an urgent visit to Moscow. Putin has said to be demanding recognition for the states that were declared independent by Russian-backed militias in eastern Ukraine, along with the guarantee that Ukraine will not join NATO. Merkel has staunchly resisted the idea of the Western allies providing Ukraine with weapons, a position that was sharply opposed by Senator John McCain yesterday.


SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: Putin does not want a diplomatic solution. He wants to dominate Ukraine. He may make tactical compromises here or there, but just as a prelude to further aggression.

FLINTOFF: Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials say nine of their soldiers have been killed and 26 wounded in the past 24 hours. Corey Flintoff, NPR News, Moscow. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.