MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Tuesday increased military activity by Ukrainian government forces had undermined hopes of arranging a four-way summit on the conflict in east Ukraine, Russia’s RIA news agency reported.
Western leaders say the efforts to bring together the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France are being hampered by Moscow’s failure to implement a ceasefire agreement reached more than four months ago.
“The renewal of hostilities on the part of the Ukrainian authorities, of course, seriously undermines the potential effectiveness of preparations for a meeting in the Normandy format,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told RIA.
The Normandy format refers to meetings of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Attempts to hold a summit last week in Kazakhstan failed after violence increased in eastern Ukraine, with government forces and the separatists they are fighting blaming each other for the renewed hostilities.
The four countries agreed on Jan. 12 that insufficient progress had been made at preparatory talks for the summit to go ahead. They said a “contact group” comprising Russia, Ukraine, the OSCE security body and the separatists in east Ukraine should meet to try to resolve remaining differences.
Reporting by Lidia Kelly and Gabriela Baczynska, Editing by Timothy Heritage