5:49 pm - Thursday February 22, 2018

Germany Seeks ‘significant’ Talks on Ukraine Controversy

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Germany said “substantial” negotiations on ending the pro-Russian insurgency in Ukraine should start today, as a second top-level conference call was planned to seek a peace agreement.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for more than two hours yesterday. The four leaders will speak again today, Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin, emphasizing the importance of three border posts seized by pro-Russian rebels.

“It’s very clear that the problem of the three border posts that were taken during the cease-fire must be tackled before the end of today, and that substantial negotiations on President Poroshenko’s peace plan should also start today,” Seibert said. The four leaders who spoke yesterday will “continue their effort to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.”

There have been several breaks of the cease-fire in Ukraine’s east that was was extended by Poroshenko until this evening. The European Union has told Putin that he faces the threat of deeper sanctions if he doesn’t rein in pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine by today.

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