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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko before an expanded meeting to discuss a peace plan for Ukraine, held by the Russian, German, French and Ukrainian leaders

    Poroshenko, Merkel Agree to Step Up Efforts in Normandy Four Format

    © Sputnik / Alexei Druzhinin
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    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to step up diplomatic efforts within the framework of a four-country Normandy format to implement Minsk agreements, notably the security component, the presidential press service said in a statement on Friday.

    KIEV (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, the two leaders held a telephone conversation. The diplomatic counsellor of French President Francois Hollande also took part in the telephone conversation at the french leader's request.

    "The sides agreed to bolster diplomatic efforts in the Normandy format and contact group format in a bid to implement Minsk agreements, notably the security component," the statement reads.

    Normandy Format Meeting
    © REUTERS / Mykola Lazarenko/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service
    The sides also discussed the security situation in eastern Ukraine and stressed the necessity to release all prisoners, the statement added.

    Kiev launched a military operation in Ukraine’s southeast in April 2014, after local residents refused to recognize the new Ukrainian authorities, which came to power as a result of a coup.

    In February 2015, a peace agreement was signed between Ukraine’s conflicting sides in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, after talks of the Normandy Four countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France. The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in eastern Ukraine, an all-for-all prisoner exchange and constitutional reforms, which would give a special status to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics.


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