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MOSCOW, September 15. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel positively assessed deals to delay implementation of the European Union - Ukraine association agreement until 2016 reached at a recent ministerial meeting involving Russia, the EU and Ukraine in Brussels, the Kremlin reported Monday.
During their phone conversation requested by the German side, the Russian and German leaders noted that further joint work is necessary to specify practical details of the deals.
Putin and Merkel also discussed developments in Ukraine with account for the importance of unconditional adherence by the conflict parties to the regime of cessation of fire and truce monitoring by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Ukraine’s previous president, Viktor Yanukovich, suspended the signing of the association agreement with the EU to study the deal more thoroughly in November 2013. The move triggered mass riots that eventually led to a coup in February 2014.
The Crimean Peninsula did not recognize the new authorities in Kiev. It seceded from Ukraine and reunified with Russia in mid-March 2014 after a referendum. Crimea’s example apparently inspired residents of Ukraine’s southeast who formed militias and started fighting for their rights.
The association agreement with the EU was eventually signed on June 27 under the new president, Western-leaning billionaire businessman and politician Pyotr Poroshenko, who won the May 25 early presidential election in Ukraine set by the provisional Kiev authorities.
The Russian side believes that if the free trade regime with Ukraine is preserved, unlimited re-exports of European products may start via Ukraine after the Ukrainian market is opened to the EU. The situation may complicate conditions for Russian manufacturers.
Clashes between Kiev's troops and local militias in the southeast Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation to regain control over the breakaway areas, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics, have killed thousands, brought destruction and forced hundreds of thousands to flee.
The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on cessation of fire during OSCE-mediated talks in Minsk on September 5. The long hoped-for ceasefire took effect the same day, but the West keeps imposing sanctions on Russia and claiming Moscow is involved in hostilities in Ukraine - an allegation Russia has repeatedly denied.