No breakthrough talks on Ukraine by Deutsche Welle

The foreign ministers of Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia have failed to agree on a roadmap for the peace process in eastern Ukraine. Germany’s Steinmeier said paying “lip service” to the conflict would not solve it.

The latest meeting to discuss strategies to mitigate the Ukraine conflict yielded little progress, the four foreign ministers said on Tuesday from Belarus’ capital, Minsk.

“It was once again very difficult today,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said following the four-hour meeting with his colleagues from France, Russia and Ukraine.

Noting small progress, Steinmeier said that troops would continue to be withdrawn from the front-line “hot spot” areas in eastern Ukraine. The Red Cross could help facilitate a significant exchange of prisoners by the end of the year, he added.

The foreign ministers, however, failed to agree on a roadmap for implementing the Minsk peace agreement that was signed in February 2015. All four countries agreed to continue discussions, despite the lack of visible results.

Both Ukraine and Russia have fundamentally different opinions regarding how the roadmap to peace should look, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said.

Despite the stalled progress and a great deal of work still to be done, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Tuesday: “Even if the dialogue is difficult, it is not broken.”

The conflict in eastern Ukraine has killed over 9,600 people since it began in April 2014.