KIEV, August 19 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel in a phone conversation on Monday agreed that the next step to settle the crisis in eastern Ukraine was to be made at a high-level meeting, with the assistance of the European Union, a statement on Poroshenko’s official website said Tuesday.
“We have agreed that a high-level meeting should be the next step to find a way out [of the crisis]… We discussed the possibility of continuing negotiations, aimed at finding a way to settle the situation in Donbas with the help from the European Union,” the message read.
On Monday, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said the German chancellor was due in Ukraine on Saturday, ahead of the Independence Day on August 24. Klimkin emphasized this was clearly “an expression of the chancellor’s personal support” of the Ukrainian government and its actions in eastern Ukraine.
On Sunday night, foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany met in Berlin for talks seeking to end fighting in eastern Ukraine. According to German foreign chief Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the talks were difficult, but the sides made progress on certain points.
Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov said on Monday, the sides would continue their discussion in the coming days in order to lay down mutually acceptable solutions.
Kiev launched a special operation in eastern Ukraine in mid-April to suppress independence supporters, who refused to recognize the legitimacy of its new authorities. Moscow has repeatedly urged Ukrainian authorities to immediately stop the punitive operation and seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
According to a report by the mission of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), nearly 1,400 people have been killed since the special operation in eastern Ukraine began, while about 117,000 of Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes and cross into neighboring Russia in search of shelter.