Ukraine, pro-Russian rebels resume peace talks

A Ukrainian helicopter flies past the headquarters of the Ukrainian forces in Kramatorsk, in the Donetsk region, on December 24, 2014Ukranian and rebel envoys resumed intense talks on Wednesday aimed at ending a pro-Russian uprising that has left the ex-Soviet republic in ruins and upset East-West ties. A successful round of preliminary negotiations in the Belarussian capital Minsk would pave the way for a second meeting on Friday at which a final agreement is signed. The industrial east’s pro-Russian militias rose up against the historic shift toward Europe that Kiev made in the wake of last winter’s ouster of an unpopular Moscow-backed president. Separatist commanders in Lugansk and Donetsk have since declared their own republics and will settle for no less than Ukraine becoming a loose federation in which they manage most of their own affairs.

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