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ANGELA MERKEL

Merkel phones Putin over Ukraine violence

Chancellor Angela Merkel urged her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a phone call on Sunday to "put pressure" on Ukraine's pro-Kremlin separatists to end a recent upsurge in violence.

Merkel phones Putin over Ukraine violence
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: DPA

Merkel called on Putin to use his influence with the rebels to "avoid a new escalation" of the unrest, her spokesman Steffen Seibert said, a day after heavy rocket fire killed 30 civilians in the eastern port of Mariupol. 

The chancellor also said the rebels, as signatories to the peace agreements signed in Minsk last year, should sit down for talks with representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Merkel also called Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to offer her condolences over the Mariupol attacks, which she called "a clear and unjustifiable ceasefire violation", the spokesman added.

UKRAINE

Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi have met the Ukrainian president in Kyiv, after the trio travelled overnight by train from Poland.

Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

The three leaders left in the early hours of Thursday, arriving into Kyiv on Thursday morning. After a visit to the heavily-bombed town of Irpin, they met Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

It is the first time that the leaders of the three European Union countries have visited Kyiv since Russia’s February 24th invasion of Ukraine, and the visit comes as Kyiv is pushing for membership of the EU.

Macron has been paying a two-day visit to Romania and Moldova to discuss the ongoing crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There had been widespread speculation in France that he would combine the trip with a visit to Zelensky in Ukraine, but this was not confirmed until Thursday morning.

In a joint press conference with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, Macron reiterated his desire that Ukraine should win the war, but added that eventually negotiations between Ukraine and Russia will be necessary.

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