The Latest: Putin could halt Aleppo strikes indefinitely

AP News
Posted: Oct 19, 2016 7:41 PM
The Latest: Putin could halt Aleppo strikes indefinitely

BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on a summit in Berlin to discuss the stalled Ukraine peace process and Syria's civil war (all times local):

1:40 a.m.

Vladimir Putin says Russia is willing to halt its airstrikes on the Syrian city of Aleppo indefinitely.

Russia had promised a pause of several hours in attacks on the city by Syrian forces under the cover of Russian air power in order to allow suffering civilians to leave and to give rebels safe passage.

But Putin said after a meeting with the leaders of France and Germany "We informed them of our intention to continue, as much as possible, considering the situation on Syrian territory, a pause in the air strikes. We are ready to do this for as long as there are no clashes with rebel formations entrenched in Aleppo."


1:20 a.m.

French President Francois Hollande says he has the impression after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin that a pause in fighting in Aleppo may be extended.

Russia has promised an eight-hour halt in fighting on Thursday in the besieged city. Hollande said early Thursday after he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Putin: "I can't put myself in his (Putin's) place but what I understood was that he would go beyond the eight hours announced."

Merkel and Hollande strongly criticized Russian and Syrian government airstrikes on Aleppo, and Hollande said that "what is happening in Aleppo is truly a war crime."

Hollande said that "the first demand is an end to the bombing ... by the regime and Russian planes."

Merkel described the talks on Syria as "very hard."


1:10 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the talks with Russia and Ukraine "didn't achieve miracles" but that the sides agreed to work on a road map to push ahead on a 2015 peace agreement.

Among the issues discussed was the creation of zones of disengagement between the warring parties, as well as measures to improve the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine.

"It's urgently necessary to keep having such talks in order not to lose momentum," she said


12:55 a.m.

Ukraine's president says an agreement has been reached to ask the OSCE, a major international security group, to deploy an armed police mission in separatist eastern Ukraine as a precursor to holding elections in the disputed region.

Petro Poroshenko was quoted by Russian news agencies Thursday as saying the agreement was reached in a summit with the leaders of France, Germany and Russia.

According to Poroshenko, Germany, as the current chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe would be asked to propose the mission to the organization.

It was not clear how large the mission might be. Poroshenko said the mission would be deployed in order to guarantee security for local elections, which are a key element of an agreement reached more than 18 months ago on ending the fighting that has killed more than 9,600 people.


12:50 a.m.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says a summit with the leaders of Russia, France and Germany has resulted in agreement on establishing a so-called "road map" to end the conflict between Russia-backed separatists and the army in eastern Ukraine.

Poroshenko said the leaders agreed that the road map should be adopted by the end of November.

Details of the road map were not immediately clear. Poroshenko was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying it would include all security issues including restoration of Ukraine's control of its entire border with Russia.

The road map is aimed at being a mechanism to implement the so-called Minsk Agreement of February 2015 on ending the conflict, in which more than 9,600 people have been killed.


12:40 a.m.

Ukraine's president says an agreement has been reached at a summit with the leaders of Russia, France and Germany on deploying an armed police mission in separatist eastern Ukraine.

Petro Poroshenko's comments were reported by Russian news agencies early Thursday after more than four hours of talks at the summit in Berlin.

The reports did not immediately specify how the proposed mission of police from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe would be deployed. But the OSCE said in May that the group would consider sending such a mission to help conduct elections in the separatist regions of the east.

Poroshenko said that Germany, the current chair of the OSCE, would be asked to present the mission proposal to the organization


6:30 p.m.

The leaders of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France are in Berlin for talks on the stagnant peace process in eastern Ukraine — a meeting that also is expected to touch on Syria's civil war.

Prospects of significant progress on either front look poor, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel said before Wednesday evening's meeting that it's important to exhaust every possibility.

Merkel and Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Francois Hollande of France and Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine have met sporadically to discuss eastern Ukraine. This is their first meeting in over a year.

The 2015 Minsk agreement brokered by France and Germany has helped end large-scale battles between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russia separatists, but clashes have continued.