Italy FM heads to Ukraine to broker peace

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Federica Mogherini will spend two days in Ukraine before spending a day in Russia. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
15:53 CEST+02:00
Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini kicked off Italy's EU presidency by travelling to Ukraine on Monday, where she hopes to broker a ceasefire between the country's army and pro-Russian forces.

Mogherini will spend the next two days in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, before travelling to Moscow to meet with Russian officials, Rai News reported.

The Italian foreign minister said she will “look to broker a ceasefire and take ‘confidence-building’ measures that allow for a decrease in tensions and accompany reforms in Ukraine.”

Mogherini’s visit comes as the Ukrainian government battles pro-Russian forces in the east of the country, after a fragile ceasefire ended last week following further clashes.

“A bilateral and mutual ceasefire in Ukraine is crucial and can be the only way to stop clashes,” Italy’s foreign minister was quoted as saying.

While in Kiev, Mogherini is due to meet her Ukrainian counterpart Pavel Klimkin, President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. She is also scheduled to hold talks with Yulia Tymoshenko, the country’s former prime minister, Rai News said.

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Mogherini's visit to Ukraine and Russia comes as speculation mounts as to whether she will be appointed the EU’s next foreign minister, replacing the UK’s Catherine Ashton. The Italian politician last month acknowledged the “theory” that she could be the next high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, but stopped short of confirming her candidacy.

READ MORE: Italy's foreign minister tipped for EU top job

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