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Ukraine crisis talks begin without pro-Russian separatists

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.

Rebels not invited to Ukraine crisis talks

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."

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