Merkel 'appeals to' Putin regarding peace in eastern Ukraine
Iran Press TV
Tue Feb 7, 2017 1:13PM
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on Russia's President Vladimir Putin to use his "influence" on pro-Russians in eastern Ukraine to help establish peace in the war-ravaged region.
Steffen Seibert, the German chancellor's spokesman, said in a statement on Tuesday that Merkel had a telephone conversation with Putin earlier in the day and she "appealed to the Russian president" in that regard.
Merkel and Putin, the German official said, "agreed that new efforts must be made to secure a ceasefire."
The duo also "asked foreign ministers and their advisors to remain in close contact," Seibert added.
According to the statement, the German and Russian leaders hoped that the fighting in eastern Ukraine would soon come to an end.
Fighting has escalated in eastern Ukraine over the past weeks, with both Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russians accusing each other of violating the terms of truce agreements known as the Minsk ceasefire accords.
A military official with pro-Russia forces was recently killed in a car bombing in Lugansk.
The government in Kiev blames Moscow for the renewed fighting, saying the Kremlin has increased its funding and training of the pro-Russians. Moscow denies any involvement in the crisis, which has claimed the lives of about 10,000 people over the past 33 months.
Foreign ministers from the European Union agreed during a meeting in Brussels on Monday to keep pressure on Russia over the deadly crisis. Top EU diplomats said sanctions imposed on Russia over its alleged role in the conflict would remain in place despite overtures made by US President Donald Trump toward Russia.
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