Reputable UK newspaper The Independent reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin have secretly agreed to solve the “Ukrainian crisis”, sources close to Merkel told the publication
“The Independent can reveal that the peace plan, being worked on by both Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin, hinges on two main ambitions: stabilising the borders of Ukraine and providing the financially troubled country with a strong economic boost, particularly a new energy agreement ensuring security of gas supplies,” the article by journalist Margareta Pagano reads.
The author added that if Ms Merkel’s deal were to be acceptable to the Russians, the international community would need to recognise Crimea’s independence and its annexation by Russia.
Sources close to the secret negotiations claim that the first part of the stabilisation plan requires Russia to withdraw its financial and military support for the various pro-separatist groups operating in eastern Ukraine. As part of any such agreement, the region would be allowed some devolved powers.
At the same time, the Ukrainian President would agree not to apply to join NATO. In return, President Putin would not seek to block or interfere with the Ukraine’s new trade relations with the European Union under a pact signed a few weeks ago.
Second, Ukraine would be offered a new long-term agreement with Russia’s Gazprom, for future gas supplies and pricing.
As part of the deal, Russia would compensate Ukraine with a billion-dollar financial package for the loss of the rent it used to pay for stationing its fleets in Crimea and at the port of Sevastopol on the Black Sea until Crimea voted for independence in March.
But insiders who are party to the discussions said that the “German peace plan is still on the table and the only deal around. Negotiations have stalled because of the MH17 disaster but they are expected to restart once the investigation has taken place.”
“It is in everyone’s interests to do a deal. Hopefully, talks will be revived if a satisfactory outcome can be reached to investigations now taking place as to the causes of the MH17 catastrophe,” the sources noted.