On October 19, negotiations on the Ukraine crisis are resuming in Berlin in the so-called "Normandy Format." Presidents of Russia, Ukraine and France—Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko and François Hollande,—as well as German chancellor Angela Merkel will participate in this high-profile meeting that takes place for the first time since the beginning of the year. The goal of the Western leaders is to compel Russia to carry out its obligations under the Minsk Accords, including handing over control of the border between Ukraine and Russia to the Kiev authorities, withdrawing Russian troops from Ukraine’s territory, holding elections in Donetsk and Lugansk regions under the auspices of the OSCE, et al. As the Russian president spokesperson Dmitry Peskov noted the other day, given the current circumstances in the region, negotiations “will not be easy.”
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