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EU, Ukraine Officials Gather for Summit in Kiev

The EU official said the summit would focus on the implementation of the Minsk agreements and reforming Ukraine’s economy

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This article originally appeared at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

EU leaders are preparing to convene for a summit with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kyiv, with talks expected to focus on the status of the Minsk agreement, a deal signed in February for a cease-fire, and steps to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

<figcaption>Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (second from left) inspects a military drill at a training ground near the city of Mykolaiv on April 25</figcaption>
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (second from left) inspects a military drill at a training ground near the city of Mykolaiv on April 25

The truce has led to a decrease in violence, but violations are reported routinely by Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists.

On April 26, the Ukrainian military reported a soldier had been killed and seven others wounded in rebel attacks.

Prospects for the implementation of the Minsk agreement’s political provisions are clouded by disputes.

The EU-Ukraine summit is the first since an association agreement was signed last year after the ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych.

Leaders are also expected to address Poroshenko’s request for European peacekeepers to help monitor the cease-fire, as well as the status of economic and political reforms in Ukraine.

An unnamed EU official told the AFP news agency on April 27 that Brussels had received the peacekeeping request from Kyiv.

”We are studying these proposals in detail,” he said, but added that the EU saw “no reason” to replace observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) now monitoring the cease-fire.

In March, EU leaders agreed that economic sanctions imposed on Russia will stay in place until the Minsk agreement is fully implemented, effectively extending them to the end of the year if need be.

Russia denies backing the rebels, as Kyiv and the West charge.

The UN says the conflict in eastern Ukraine has killed more than 6,100 people since April 2014.

The EU official also told AFP that the Kyiv summit would focus on reforming Ukraine’s economy.

Among other measures launched in recent months, Kyiv has introduced a new anticorruption body and passed laws to clean up its banks.

”The test is in the real implementation, the changes in real life for people” that the reforms bring, the official said.

He said the EU delegation would demand Ukraine finalize constitutional reforms this year, including agreements on the status of areas controlled by the pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

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