Angela Merkel urges high-level meeting on eastern Ukraine in ‘farewell visit’ to Kyiv

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged further peace talks on the situation in eastern Ukraine in her “farewell visit” to Kyiv before Germany’s September election.

“I would plead for another meeting at the presidential level or the political leadership level with myself, the French President and the Russian and Ukrainian President. That in my opinion would bring us progress, if we can work out a good agenda – our advisers should do that,” Merkel said.

Merkel was instrumental in the 2015 brokered ceasefire deal agreed in Minsk between Russia and Ukraine, but the last talks on the situation were in 2019.

Fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed rebels has killed more than 14,000 people since 2014.

Zelenskyy urged western countries to put more pressure on Russia over Crimea.

“As long as there is no progress, the pressure on Russia should continue. We want to see active efforts of our Western partners,” Zelenskyy said.

Merkel’s visit to Kyiv came 48 hours after she met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and a day before the Crimea Platform, a summit hosted by Ukraine to discuss the situation in Crimea.

But neither Merkel nor foreign affairs minister Heiko Maas will be able attend the summit.

Pipeline that bypasses Ukraine causes problems

The pair also spoke about issues relating to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will bypass Ukraine as a transit country. It will allow more Russian gas exports to reach Europe and is nearing completion.

“We agree with the Americans that gas should not be used as a geopolitical weapon, and this will be reflected in the question of whether there will be an extension of this amount, of the transit contract through Ukraine, and the sooner this happens the better,” Merkel said.

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The US decided against sanctions over the pipeline in May, coming to an agreement with Germany about it in July.

Merkel said on Sunday that if the pipeline is used as a weapon against Ukraine, they could consider sanctions against Russia.

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