Putin and Poroshenko were joined by French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris Friday and were expected to discuss ways to implement the Minsk agreement.
Whatever they end up talking about, Putin comes to Friday’s meetings with the upper hand militarily. “These military actions constitute a further escalation and will only fuel more extremism and radicalisation”, seven countries including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United States said in a statement published on the website of the Turkish foreign ministry.
Vladimir Putin may have caught the U.S. and its allies off guard by striking Syria, but his propaganda machine was ready. The other strikes, Hollande added, were on areas controlled by the opposition.
A senior French diplomat said the two leaders tried to bridge the differences over an eventual political transition in Syria, as well as talking about the airstrikes by Russian Federation and the U.S.-led coalition, and protecting civilians.
After the resolution received unanimous approval, Putin’s chief of staff Sergei Ivanov and Federation Council speaker Valentina Matvienko said the matter only concerned Syria and Russia would only conduct airstrikes there, ruling out the use of ground troops.
François Hollande, the French president, said the elections planned for October in the rebel territories, which Kiev had denounced as illegal, would “probably” not take place yet and said he hoped Ukraine would pass a new law which allowed the vote to take place and would guarantee a full amnesty for all those taking part. While Russian Federation says it’s targeting extremists, Western officials suspect Russian Federation of using the air campaign as a pretext to go after anti-Assad rebels. “And Russian Federation needs us”.
“It’s only strengthening ISIL, and that’s not good for anybody”, Obama said. “The war will be over when the last piece of the Ukrainian land has been liberated”, his office said.
The four leaders in Paris also noted positive developments on the withdrawal of weapons with a caliber of less than 100 mm from areas of fighting in east Ukraine, Peskov said. They insisted that airstrikes in Syria should be directed exclusively against Islamic State, not other groups fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says IS gunmen launched an offensive Friday on government-held neighborhoods in Deir el-Zour. Throughout the Ukraine crisis, Russian Federation has denied the presence of its troops in Eastern Ukraine and even pretended that it wasn’t arming the separatist rebels there.
The convoluted objectives of Russia and the US-led coalition raise the prospect of Russian warplanes bombing opposition groups who are receiving support and training from Western countries.
The leaders of Russian Federation, Ukraine, France and Germany are meeting on 2 October in Paris to move the Ukraine peace process forward.
Since Russia’s airstrikes began Wednesday, the warplanes appeared to be bombing central and northwestern Syria, strategic regions that are the gateway to Assad’s strongholds in the capital of Damascus and the coast.
However, given rapidly shifting battlefield terrain in Syria’s chaotic civil war, it can be hard to distinguish which groups hold what territory.
Russian news agencies quoted Defense Ministry spokesman Gen.-Maj. The strikes also targeted two bunkers used as command posts and weapon storage facilities, one of which was completely destroyed. According to activists, the target struck Friday is a Nusra Front position in the nearby town of Khan Sheikhoun.