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Ukraine truce hangs in balance after 'difficult' talks

A Ukrainian helicopter flies past the headquarters of the Ukrainian forces in Kramatorsk, in the Donetsk region, on December 24, 2014The latest push for peace in Ukraine appeared moribund on Thursday after initial talks failed to agree when the warring sides should meet again to try to end an eight-month pro-Russian revolt. Negotiations mediated by European and Russian envoys in the Belarussian capital Minsk broke up after more than five hours on Wednesday with the separatists reporting progress on only one of four contentious points. Both he and security sources in Kiev said that a deal on the terms of a prisoner swap involving 150 Ukrainian soldiers and 225 guerrillas was the only tangible achievement of Wednesday’s talks. State security sources in Kiev said this would leave the separatists in eastern Ukraine holding about 500 government soldiers.

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