World

Crucial talks on Ukraine settlement break down

  • Soldados ucranianos patrullan un área en la aldea de Debaltseve, en la región oriental de Donetsk, el miércoles, 24 de diciembre del 2014. Una nueva ronda de negociaciones para alcanzar un cese del fuego estable en Ucrania entre fuerzas del gobierno y separatistas armados pro rusos comenzó el miércoles en la capital bielorrusa, pero la reciente decisión de Ucrania de abandonar su status no alineado añade un nuevo elemento de tensión a la crisis.  (Foto AP/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    Soldados ucranianos patrullan un área en la aldea de Debaltseve, en la región oriental de Donetsk, el miércoles, 24 de diciembre del 2014. Una nueva ronda de negociaciones para alcanzar un cese del fuego estable en Ucrania entre fuerzas del gobierno y separatistas armados pro rusos comenzó el miércoles en la capital bielorrusa, pero la reciente decisión de Ucrania de abandonar su status no alineado añade un nuevo elemento de tensión a la crisis. (Foto AP/Sergei Chuzavkov)  (The Associated Press)

  • Ukrainian government army soldiers patrol an area in the village of Debaltseve, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine Wednesday, Dec 24, 2014. Peace talks aimed at reaching a stable cease-fire in Ukraine between its government forces and pro-Russian armed groups began on Wednesday in Minsk, Belarus, with the discussions to include a pullout of heavy weapons and an exchange of war prisoners. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    Ukrainian government army soldiers patrol an area in the village of Debaltseve, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine Wednesday, Dec 24, 2014. Peace talks aimed at reaching a stable cease-fire in Ukraine between its government forces and pro-Russian armed groups began on Wednesday in Minsk, Belarus, with the discussions to include a pullout of heavy weapons and an exchange of war prisoners. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)  (The Associated Press)

  • Women residents pass by a group of the Ukrainian government army soldiers in the village of Debaltseve, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine Wednesday, Dec 24, 2014. Peace talks aimed at reaching a stable cease-fire in Ukraine between its government forces and pro-Russian armed groups began on Wednesday in Minsk, Belarus, with the discussions to include a pullout of heavy weapons and an exchange of war prisoners. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    Women residents pass by a group of the Ukrainian government army soldiers in the village of Debaltseve, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine Wednesday, Dec 24, 2014. Peace talks aimed at reaching a stable cease-fire in Ukraine between its government forces and pro-Russian armed groups began on Wednesday in Minsk, Belarus, with the discussions to include a pullout of heavy weapons and an exchange of war prisoners. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)  (The Associated Press)

The foreign ministry of Belarus, which has been hosting Ukraine peace talks, says the much-anticipated round of negotiations on Friday has been scrapped.

Ministry spokesman Dmitry Mironchik told The Associated Press that the talks broke down but did not give a reason.

The opening round was held on Wednesday, one day after Ukraine's decision to drop its non-aligned status, which added a new element of tension to the attempts to resolve the violent crisis in the country.

The talks were to discuss how to improve an often-violated cease-fire that was declared in September, to pull back heavy weapons and to exchange of war prisoners. The negotiators included representatives of Ukraine, Russia, pro-Russian rebels and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.