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German govt says hopes Geneva meeting on Ukraine contributes to diplomatic settlement

April 16, 2014, 23:23 UTC+3 BERLIN
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BERLIN, April 16, /ITAR-TASS/. German Chancellor Angela Merkel hopes Thursday’s upcoming international four-party meeting in Geneva on the situation in Ukraine, involving Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union, will contribute to a diplomatic settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, a deputy spokesman of the German government, Georg Streiter, said Wednesday.

“We hope the meeting will be held and further meetings will take place too,” Streiter said.

The meeting could become “the first step to restoration of a normal situation in Ukraine”.

Ukraine saw a coup in February, which brought new people to power amid deadly riots. President Viktor Yanukovich had to leave the country citing security concerns.

The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new Ukrainian authorities. Crimea and Sevastopol signed reunification deals with Russia on March 18 after a referendum two days earlier in which an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.

Moscow does not recognize the new Kiev authorities either.

The events were followed by protests against the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian leaders that erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern regions, with demonstrators taking control of some regional government buildings and demanding referendums on the country’s federalization.

Ukrainian interim head of state Alexander Turchinov on Tuesday announced the start of an antiterrorism operation in the eastern Donetsk Region in an apparent effort to crack down on protests of federalization supporters.

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