Ukrainian director sees little hope in new peace talks

Marrakech (Morocco) (AFP) –


Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa whose films have focused on the bloody conflict in eastern Ukraine has little hope that upcoming talks with Russia will bring peace any time soon.

"I do not expect any good news from the front line," Loznitsa told AFP ahead of a summit between Kiev and Moscow due to open Monday in Paris.

The current situation in his country is "not peace" and it could "last long," he added, speaking on the sidelines of the Marrakesh film festival.

The summit aiming to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine will see Russia's President Vladimir Putin face off with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky for the first time.

The discussions between the two leaders, mediated by the French and German heads of state, will address five years of fighting that has left 13,000 dead and seen Moscow's ties with the West plummet to lows unseen since the Cold War.

"There is no solution, time is the only question," said Loznitsa, who is treated as a national treasure in Ukraine after making some two dozen documentaries and films that have brought him international renown.

His documentary "Maidan" about Kiev's bloody pro-EU revolution premiered at a special Cannes screening in 2014. And in 2018, his film "Donbass" won him best director in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes film festival.

The 55-year-old director said however it was yet to seen if European countries really had the will to end the conflict which erupted in 2014, with peace efforts having stalled for the past three years.

In Soviet times "the whole nation was under occupation," he said, which had left "scars".

"To expect that the territory will start to develop fast is too optimistic. We need a long long time, we need independence ... to slowly develop and change laws."

At a time when the world is increasingly concerned about misinformation, Loznitsa has just filmed two documentaries focusing on the manipulation of images in the Soviet era -- "State Funeral"" from 2019 and "The Trial" in 2018.

"The main thing is to ask yourself the question: 'Why do they show me this? What do they mean? What do they want from me? How does it connect to the reality'," he said.

"And then start to think. Because this is very dangerous nowadays. There is a fight for our attention, everybody is fighting for our attention."