Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, June 23rd, 2017

Putin, Merkel Urge Immediate Ceasefire in Ukraine

Putin, Merkel Urge Immediate  Ceasefire in Ukraine

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for an immediate restoration of a truce in southeastern Ukraine, the Kremlin said Tuesday.
The two leaders expressed serious concern during a phone conversation over the recent escalation of the armed conflict between Ukrainian government troops and local militias in the Donbass region, said a Kremlin statement.
Putin told Merkel that there was "a clear desire for Kiev to disrupt the implementation of the Minsk agreements and use the Normandy format as a cover for its destructive steps."
The Normany format is a group composed of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine aimed at resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
According to the Kremlin, Putin and Merkal agreed to step up diplomatic efforts to promote a peaceful settlement to the crisis and hold further Normandy group meetings.
A civil war broke out in Ukraine in April 2014 after local residents in the country's southeastern Donbass region refused to recognize the new pro-West Kiev authorities and sought independence.
The two sides reached a peace agreement brokered by Russia, France and Germany in September 2014 in the Belarussian capital of Minsk, and a more detailed renewal of the agreement was signed in February 2015.

However, the truce has not been strictly observed, and deadly conflicts have flared up in the last two weeks in Donbass, with Kiev and local militias trading accusations of undermining the Minsk deal. (Xinhua)