A meeting involving Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and the Russian and Ukrainian presidents has raised hopes

On Monday, half a decade into the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Vladimir Putin sat down with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Accompanied by Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, they had some reason to declare their meeting a success.

The four may not have brought immediate peace to the region, but they agreed to a complete ceasefire, further disengagement, de-mining, stepped-up monitoring by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and a full “all-for-all” exchange of prisoners by the end of the year. All four reaffirmed their commitment to the Minsk Agreements of 2014-2015, a roadmap to peace whose implementation stalled in the face of Moscow and Kyiv’s different interpretations of its components and sequencing. As part of an effort to unfreeze Minsk, Ukraine pledged to incorporate the “Steinmeier formula”, which promises elections in the parts…

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