World, Europe

Russian, Ukrainian leaders discuss eastern Ukraine

Vladimir Putin, Volodymyr Zelensky hold second phone talk this month over situation on Donbass

Elena Teslova   | 07.08.2019
Russian, Ukrainian leaders discuss eastern Ukraine


Russia's president has discussed a possible settlement in eastern Ukraine with his Ukrainian counterpart on Wednesday, the Kremlin announced.

Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky talked on the phone on further steps for a settlement in the region, a statement said.

Putin urged Zelensky to end Ukrainian troops' shelling of "Donbass settlements" for de-escalation, it said.

Both Putin and Zelensky reaffirmed the crucial importance of "consistent implementation" of the Minsk agreements, including the legal aspects of granting special status to rebellious regions, according to the statement.

"In this context, the need for a constructive dialogue between the parties, including within the framework of the Minsk Contact group, was noted," it added.

The two leaders agreed to more actively seek an agreement on the exchange of detainees and examined the possibility of work in the 2014 Normandy Four format between Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France.

For his part, Zelensky told at a press briefing in Kiev that he "urgently" called Putin over the shelling of the Donbass region. Ukraine accuses pro-Russian rebels and Russia blames Ukraine troops for the shelling in the problematic area.

"I have just spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin about this issue this morning. I urgently called him and said that this does not make us closer to the peace. I'm asking you to influence the other side to stop killing our people," he said.

Zelensky promised to contact the leaders of the Normandy Four format to push the settlement in eastern Ukraine.

Both countries have been at loggerheads since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea after a controversial referendum.

The UN General Assembly -- including Turkey -- viewed the annexation as illegal.

Ukraine has also blamed the Kremlin for separatist violence in eastern Ukraine near the border with Russia.

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