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France, Germany Laud Ukraine's Opening Of New Crossing Points To Separatist-Held Territory

A Ukrainian serviceman on the front line near the village of Zolote in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk.

France and Germany have welcomed Kyiv's opening of new crossing points along the contact line with separatist territory in Ukraine's east, and have called on separatist authorities and their ally Russia to respond in kind by opening crossing points to separatist-controlled areas.

"Ukraine has thus taken steps to improve the desolate conditions at the crossing points before winter sets in and to ease the suffering of the people in eastern Ukraine," the French Foreign Ministry and the German Federal Foreign Office said in a November 13 statement.

The opening of the two new crossing points -- in the frontline towns of Zolote and Shchastya in the Luhansk region -- raises the number of available crossing points to seven, putting Ukraine in compliance with obligations agreed to in 2019 by Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany.

Russia-backed forces hold parts of both the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as the result of a war that has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014.

"We call on Russia and the separatists to reopen all existing crossing points on the contact line in the Donetsk region without delay," the statement continued. "The conflict must not be allowed to continue to be waged at the expense of the population."

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