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Ukraine Says Poroshenko And Merkel Discuss Russia, Conflict In East

  • RFE/RL

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (file photo)

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's office says he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have discussed her meeting last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Poroshenko's office said in a May 8 statement that a telephone call between the two leaders earlier in the day also addressed Kyiv's conflict with Russia-backed separatists and the death last month in eastern Ukraine of a monitor with the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE).

The call follows Merkel's May 2 meeting with Putin in Russia's Black Sea port of Sochi for talks that focused on the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

Germany has been a key broker between Kyiv and Moscow over the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which has killed at least 9,940 since April 2014, according to the UN.

Merkel has been a staunch supporter of the EU's sanctions targeting Russia over its backing of the separatists and seizure of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March 2014.

Merkel "informed the Ukrainian president about the results of her negotiations in Russia on May 2," Poroshenko’s office said in its statement.

It added that the two leaders stressed the importance of fulfilling the Minsk accords aimed at ending the violence in the region, as well as the April 23 death of an OSCE monitor in a land-mine explosion in eastern Ukraine.

There was no immediate statement from Merkel's office about the call.

The Ukrainian statement said Poroshenko warned that any displays of weaponry in "occupied territories" -- a reference to Crimea and separatist-held areas of eastern Ukraine -- as part of May 9 Victory Day celebrations would be "unacceptable."

Russia is gearing up for its nationwide celebration of Victory Day, its most revered holiday, commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.

Russia seized control of Crimea in March 2014 after sending in troops without insignia, engineering a takeover of the regional legislature, and staging a referendum that was swiftly dismissed as illegitimate by Ukraine, the United States, and a total of 100 countries at the UN General Assembly.

Moscow has portrayed its takeover of Crimea as necessary to protect ethnic Russians and other residents of the peninsula from oppression by pro-Western officials that took power in Kyiv following the 2014 ouster of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

That narrative has been rejected by Ukraine and Western governments, which accuse Russian-backed authorities in Crimea of rights abuses against Crimean Tatars and others opposed to Moscow's rule there.

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