Russia said Tuesday that a summit to solve the conflict in Ukraine is unlikely because the government in Kiev is fuelling the armed conflict in the country’s east.
“At this moment [a summit] doesn’t look as likely as it did before Ukraine renewed armed hostilities,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said according to Russian news agencies.
Efforts to organize a meeting of the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany in Kazakhstan foundered last week as fresh fighting broke out between pro-Russian separatists and government forces.
Ukraine blames the separatists and what it calls Russian backers for starting the violence by attempting to take the government-held airport of Donetsk.
Russia has vehemently denied accusations on the part of Ukraine and the West that it has been sending troops into Ukraine.
Dozens of people, many of them civilians, have been killed in artillery battles surrounding the airport in recent days. The fighting continued Tuesday, and Ukrainian forces were in control of some buildings previously held by separatists, the military said.
Shelling was also reported from the outskirts of the southern port city of Mariupol and from Debaltseve, a government-controlled rail hub north of Donetsk.
Ukraine also began implementing a mobilisation drive, decreed by President Petro Poroshenko and supported by parliament last week, that is to bring some 100,000 recruits to the armed forces this year, according to the Defence Ministry.
Poroshenko called on Europe to support his country’s military efforts. “If Europe stands together with Ukraine on the defense of freedom, dignity, democracy and life without fear, then the future of Europe will be safe and bright,” he told students Monday in Zurich, Switzerland.
The Ukrainian president will participate in the World Economic Forum that kicks off in the Swiss resort of Davos on Wednesday.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which monitors the conflict, announced that its Permanent Council would discuss the crisis in a special meeting in Vienna on Tuesday at 2:30 pm (1530 GMT).