15:31 GMT24 February 2020
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    US Vice President Mike Pence held a meeting on Saturday with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the two sides discussed the Ukrainian conflict and how the United States can support the efforts to settle the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the White House said.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — During the meeting on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Pence and Poroshenko voiced their concern over the recent flare-up in fighting in eastern Ukraine and demanded that all hostilities stop at once, the White House said.

    "The Vice President expressed concern about the recent surge in violence in eastern Ukraine, and the leaders agreed on the need for an immediate comprehensive ceasefire," the statement read.

    At the end of the talks, the Minsk agreements were called the cornerstone of the settlement of the crisis. The sides have also talked on Washington's participation in the negotiation process.

    "The Vice President expressed U.S. support for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements to bring peace to eastern Ukraine, and the leaders discussed how the United States can support negotiations," the White House statement read.

    According to the statement, Pence also commended Ukraine's progress on political reforms and the sides "affirmed the importance of further reforms to transform Ukraine into a secure, prosperous, European country for all its citizens."

    Earlier, the Ukrainian president said that Pence reaffirmed US support of Kiev and named Crimea’s return a priority for the US administration in its relations with Ukraine.

    The conflict 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.

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    Tags:
    Minsk accords, Ukraine crisis, Mike Pence, Petro Poroshenko, Donbass, United States, Ukraine
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