KIEV, January 25. /TASS/. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande in a phone conversation with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko on Sunday expressed concerns over the deteriorating situation in Ukraine’s southeast and the violation of the Minsk agreements.
Poroshenko’s press service said Merkel and Hollande have sent condolences over the tragedy in Mariupol, in southeastern Ukraine, where 30 civilians were killed as a result of the shelling of the city on Saturday.
Another 102 people were injured, at least 75 of whom needed hospital treatment, and many suffered shrapnel injuries, Mariupol City Council said. Kiev and militia traded blame for the attack.
The sides agreed that the further steps on normalizing the situation in Ukraine’s southeast should include an immediate bilateral ceasefire, a Contact Group meeting, the release of the prisoners of war and the withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the contact line.
Poroshenko has coordinated further actions with Merkel and Hollande, and in particular, on convening the Council of the European Union at the level of foreign ministers to take more decisive EU steps in case of a lack of progress on the de-escalation of the situation in Donbass.
The parties expressed hope that the Contact Group meeting will be held ahead of the Council of the European Union meeting which is planned on January 29.