World Bulletin / News Desk
The leaders of Germany and France have called on conflicting parties in eastern Ukraine on Saturday to implement the Minsk cease-fire agreement.
“In the light of dramatically increased violations of cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, Chancellor [Angela] Merkel and President [Emmanuel] Macron are calling on the both sides of the conflict to live up to their responsibilities and implement as soon as possible the agreements they have signed,” a joint statement by Berlin and Paris said.
The statement came after increased fighting in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russia separatists, despite a cease-fire agreement signed in Minsk two years ago.
The German and French leaders reaffirmed their support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, but also urged Kiev to fully implement the Minsk agreement, and speed up the work on the political provisions of the agreement, on the questions of special status, local elections and amnesties in the eastern regions.
“There is no alternative to an exclusively peaceful solution to the conflict,” the leaders stressed.
Merkel and Macron have also called on Russia to reconsider its decision to pull back Russian officers from the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC), which was helping international observers in monitoring the cease- fire.
Russia has accused Ukraine last week for obstructing the work at JCCC and announced that it would withdraw its officers.
Ukraine has been wracked by conflict in its eastern regions since March 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Conflict parties signed the Minsk cease-fire agreement in February 2015, with the mediation of France and Germany, but the fighting continued, claiming more than 10,000 lives, according to the UN.
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