EU-backed crisis talks began in Kyiv on Wednesday with the aim of ending the crisis in Ukraine. But with pro-Russian separatists excluded from the dialogue, there are doubts over whether the talks will make any progress.
National lawmakers, members of the interim government and regional officials gathered in Kyiv on Wednesday (14.05.2014) for the first in a series of round-table talks aimed at ending the crisis in Ukraine.
But with pro-Russian separatists not invited there is skepticism over how much impact they may have. Kyiv has said separatists would only receive an invitation if they gave up their weapons.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Wednesday called the talks a step in the right direction, saying that "broken relations need to be mended, and that is only possible through dialogue."
The talks, which lasted more than two hours, ended inconclusively with no definite plan for a second meeting. The EU's enlargement commissioner, Stefan Fule, said he hoped the next round-table discussion could take place in eastern Ukraine, possibly in Donetsk.
German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger, representing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said he was "quite confident" that the talks "will succeed in getting a proper process started."
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called them weapons of mass destruction - small arms are responsible for the majority of violent deaths worldwide. The German army is now trying to limit their proliferation.
Many local governments in Germany are struggling to house the growing numbers of refugees. One conservative politician is now calling on private homeowners to take in asylum seekers.
EU leaders are set to meet to try to agree on who should fill some of the bloc's top jobs. However, recent developments in eastern Ukraine promise to have EU leaders discussing possible tougher sanctions against Russia.
In this week's show: A sampling of the sounds from Richard Strauss' operas, performed in the city in which many of them had their premieres by the Dresden Staatskapelle under Christian Thielemann.