19:37 GMT +319 October 2018
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    Ukrainian tanks stand in the yard of an apartment block in Avdiivka, eastern Ukraine

    Trump, NATO Chief Stoltenberg Discuss Peaceful Resolution in Ukraine

    © AP Photo / Evgeniy Maloletka
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    US President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg discussed in a phone call on Sunday ways of peaceful settlement of the conflict in Ukraine, the White House said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The White House said that the sides "discussed the potential for a peaceful resolution of the conflict along the Ukrainian border." It was also said that Trump reassured his support for NATO and will take part in the 2017 NATO summit in Brussels.

    "The leaders discussed how to encourage all NATO allies to meet their defense spending commitments," the readout of the talk released by the White House said, adding "continue close coordination and cooperation to address the full range of security challenges facing NATO."

    The news comes as the Ukrainian forces resumed heavy shelling of the residential areas of Donetsk on Sunday, deploying additional troops closer to the borders of the self-proclaimed republics in the east of the country.

    On Saturday, in a phone talk with Ukraine's President Poroshenko, Trump pledged to cooperate with leaders of Russia, Ukraine and other nations in order to restore peace in war-torn Donbass.

    Recently, the situation in Donbass escalated with heavy fighting brewing in the vicinity of the industrial town of Avdiivka. Clashes are estimated to have left over 40 people dead and more than 100 wounded.

    The breakout of hostilities in eastern Ukraine began in April 2014 as a local counter-reaction to the West-sponsored Maidan coup in Kiev that had toppled legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych in February. Residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held independence referendums and proclaimed the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Kiev has since been conducting a military operation, encountering stiff local resistance.

    In February 2015, Kiev forces and Donbass independence supporters signed a peace agreement in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in Donbass, as well as constitutional reforms that would give a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. Since then, the ceasefire regime has been regularly violated, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches, undermining the terms of the accord.

    Related:

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    Kiev Makes Overtures to NATO to Keep Ukraine in the Spotlight
    Tags:
    shelling, NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, Donald Trump, Donbass, Ukraine
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