SnapshotsDec 6, 2019 | 19:31 GMTThe Prospects for Talks to End Eastern Ukraine's Conflict Remain Cloudy
Initial optimism, in the end, only presaged a false dawn. Where Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists had previously withdrawn from the line of contact and swapped prisoners, fundamental differences between the two sides are clouding the chances of significant progress toward ending their conflict during the Normandy summit, which will bring together Kyiv, Moscow, Paris and Berlin in France on Dec. 9.
In his most recent statements over the past week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for the creation of integrated security forces -- dubbed a "municipal guard" -- in the separatist-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine that would include elements of the Ukrainian armed forces. Zelenskiy is expected to push this controversial plan at the summit, potentially creating a new bone of contention between Kyiv and Moscow. Previously, the Ukrainian president said the sides could not resolve the political status of Donbas unless Russia agrees to a cease-fire and further prisoner swapsREAD MORE