1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Kerry: Putin can 'end this war'

February 5, 2015

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said the conflict in Ukraine cannot end with a "one-sided peace." The comments followed a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

Ukraine Kiew John Kerry und Arsenij Jazenjuk
Image: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Standing next to Yatsenyuk (pictured right) in Kyiv Thursday, Kerry (left) said Vladimir Putin could end Ukraine's civil war. Kerry made his remarks as German Chancellor Merkel and French President Francois Hollande were also in Ukraine ahead of a planned trip to Moscow to present a peace plan to Putin.

"President Putin can make the choices that end this war," Kerry said. He added that the peace plan Merkel and Hollande planned to present to Putin on Friday had the full backing of the United States.

Kerry's visit followed reports that the US would consider supplying Ukraine with weapons. The secretary of state said that US President Barack Obama would decide soon whether to do so.

Many European leaders are opposed to supplying Ukraine with weapons. Fighting between separatists and government forces in eastern Ukraine increased in January, raising the death toll to more than 5,300 people killed since April.

"Delivering weapons in this situation is the wrong path," German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday, as fierce fighting raged around the town of Debaltseve, between the separatist stronghold cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

'Strong evidence'

Russian officials say they would view any decision by the US to arm Ukraine as a security threat. Kerry himself seemed to pour cold water on the idea, at least for now, while demanding that Russia honor a 2014 peace deal agreed to in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. The agreement has unraveled in recent weeks as a shaky ceasefire collapsed into all-out fighting which, according to the UN, has claimed about 220 lives in the past three weeks alone.

Yatsenyuk said Ukraine had "strong evidence" that Russia had crossed the border to support separatists. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko also accused Russia of escalating the conflict and said that attacks by separatists on civilian targets were "absolutely unacceptable." Speaking to reporters following his meeting with Poroshenko in Kyiv on Thursday, Kerry had also spoken out against incursions by Russia, where officials have repeatedly denied supporting the separatists with troops and weapons, though they have acknowledged that some citizens may have crossed the border to fight.

"We want a diplomatic solution but we cannot close our eyes to tanks that are crossing the border from Russia and coming into Ukraine," Kerry said. "We cannot close our eyes to Russian fighters in unmarked uniforms crossing the border, and leading individual companies of so-called separatists in battle."

mkg/kms (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)