18:42 17.03.2016

Poroshenko, Merkel, Hollande discuss prospects for elections in Donbas, confirm sanctions on Russia still in force

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Francois Hollande, have met in Brussels to discuss possible conditions for conducting elections in Donbas.

"The leaders stressed the importance of conducting elections in separate districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, in accordance with the laws and the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] principles, on the condition of providing a security component," the Ukrainian president's press office said on Thursday.

"Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande reaffirmed the steadfastness of the European Union's policy of non-recognition of the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation," the press office said.

"The German and French leaders confirmed that the EU sanctions against Russia will remain in place, until Moscow fully implements the Minsk peace agreements," the press office said.

Poroshenko, Merkel and Hollande expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in Donbas, the press office said. The parties stressed the importance of implementing the Minsk agreements, the ceasefire, removing of Russian military hardware, and providing full and unhindered access, by OSCE monitors to all places in the areas not controlled by Kyiv, according to the statement.

"Poroshenko, Merkel and Hollande jointly called for the immediate release and return to Ukraine of Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko," the statement says.

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