Merkel brokering peace deal with Putin to recognise Crimean independence
Germany and Russia have been working on a secret plan to broker a peaceful solution to end international tensions over Ukraine.
The peace plan, being worked on by both Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin, hinges on stabilising the borders of Ukraine and providing the financially troubled country with an economic boost and security of gas supplies.
More controversially, 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 negotiations claim that the plan requires Russia to withdraw its support for pro-separatist groups operating in eastern Ukraine. At the same time, the Ukrainian President would agree not to apply to join Nato.
In return, President Putin would not interfere with Ukraine's trade relations with the EU.
Independent News Service