World, Europe

France, Germany, Ukraine urges Russia to retreat troops

Ukraine President Zelensky hopes for truce, revival of Normandy Format talks

Shweta Desai   | 16.04.2021
France, Germany, Ukraine urges Russia to retreat troops

PARIS

France, Germany and Ukraine on Friday jointly called on Russia to dismantle troops at the Ukraine border and de-escalate the current crisis.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is on an official visit to Paris, held talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel who joined the two via video link.

The trio in particular discussed “the security situation on the Ukrainian-Russian border and in eastern Ukraine” and “shared concerns about the growth of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine and in the illegally annexed Crimea,” a statement from the German Foreign Ministry said.

They jointly called for these “troop reinforcements to be dismantled in order to de-escalate the situation.”

Taking to Twitter, Macron said together with Ukraine and Germany, France is determined to find a political solution.

“Regarding the situation in Donbass, together with Ukraine and Germany, we continue to mobilize our efforts and continue to be determined to find a political solution, which is the only possible one,” he said.

He further assured of continuing the momentum between Ukraine and France, ushered by Zelensky’s exchange.

Following the meeting, Zelensky said he would like the four countries – Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany – to get together.

Under the Normandy Format talks in June 2014, leaders of the four countries informally established contact to resolve the war in Donbas region following invasion by Russian forces.

By September, the two warring neighbors and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe signed an agreement called the Minsk protocol to implement a peace plan and end fighting, which has not met complete success.

Underlining support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, Macron and Merkel stressed the need to “fully implement the Minsk agreement” and pledged to continue efforts in the Normandy Format.

A report by France24 news quoted Zelensky as saying that he would like to discuss “the issue of the security situation in eastern Ukraine and the de-occupation of our territories” and expressed “hope for a resumption of the truce in the conflict” next week.

His visit to France and the tripartite meeting with Germany took place as tensions mounted back home over a massive buildup of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine, sparking fears of a military confrontation.

Ukraine is seeking support from the EU and NATO alliance in the conflict that has been brewing between government forces and pro-Russian separatists since 2014.

Earlier in the afternoon Zelensky and his wife Olena were received by Macron at the presidential Elysee Palace, where the two heads of state discussed the ongoing situation at lunch.

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