World leaders push for diplomatic end to Ukraine crisis

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are heading to Ukraine as part of the diplomatic efforts to present a peace proposal to end the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The two world leaders are looking for a peace initiative based on the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine. They will also meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Feb. 6.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry announced in Kiev that the United States is looking for a “diplomatic solution”, and added it cannot turn a blind eye to the Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Kerry also stated that no one wants to start a conflict with Russia.

He urged Russia to make make careful decisions that will lead to peace in Ukraine.

Kerry also announced that US is planning to to provide $16.4 million on humanitarian grounds to help Ukrainians affected by the violence.

John Kerry met Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
John Kerry met Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko

There are also unconfirmed reports that President Barack Obama is planning to send lethal aid to help Ukrainian government as the conflict continues to escalate.

Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Russia of fostering the conflict by sending armed rebels in eastern Ukraine and deploying troops across its border.

However, Russia continues to deny any direct involvement but added that some Russian volunteers are involved in the fighting alongside rebels.

On the other hand, NATO unveiled a new strategy to increase its military presence in Eastern Europe in response to the Ukrainian crisis.

Meanwhile, the European Union has imposed a new sanction against Russia by adding 19 people including five Russians to its sanction list over the Ukrainian crisis.

The fighting has intensified in eastern Ukraine over the past few weeks .

The diplomatic efforts by world leaders and the push for a joint proposal for negotiations comes at a time when the devastating conflict is worsening as it is claiming a large number of civilian lives.

Ukrainian crisis in pictures
Ukrainian crisis in pictures

The fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels has killed more than 5,000 people since April 2014.

Some reports say as many as 1.2 million Ukrainians have fled their homes, after the rebels took control over the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

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