Ukraine, pro-Russia rebels agree to resume peace talks

A man walks past a damaged building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on December 17, 2014Ukraine’s pro-European leaders and Kremlin-backed rebels agreed Wednesday to hold long-delayed peace talks that were backed by Russia in the heat of its devastating currency crisis. Sunday’s meeting in the Belarussian capital Minsk was announced hours after German Chancellor Angela Merkel placed a late-night call to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Their first reported exchange in weeks was later joined by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his French counterpart Francois Hollande. Western powers have noted a recent diplomatic softening from Russia that coincides with the onset of the most severe and potentially long-lasting crisis of Putin’s 15-year rule.

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