Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko conceded Monday that his forces are unable to militarily defeat separatists backed by Russian mercenaries and armaments, and he called for a new attempt at negotiating an end to the fighting at an international summit on Jan. 15.
The meeting to be held in the Kazakhstan capital, Astana, will include Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Poroshenko and his Western allies accuse of instigating the rebellion in eastern Ukraine, and the leaders of France and Germany.
President Obama has also been asked to join in the negotiations, Poroshenko said, referring to the meeting as under the “Normandy format” established on June 6, when the newly elected Ukrainian president met informally with Putin, Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on the sidelines of the 70th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day invasion.
Though Poroshenko’s tone at a news conference in Kiev, the capital, sounded conciliatory, he reiterated that his government demands recovery of all Ukrainian territory occupied by the separatists as well as the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in March.
The former chocolate magnate, who has been in office for six months, also signed into law a measure passed by the Western-oriented parliament last week renouncing Ukraine’s nonaligned status.