BERLIN, July 17. /TASS/. Georgian Chancellor Angela Merkel has held a phone conversation with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to discuss the situation in East Ukraine’s Donbass and gas transit issues, the German government said in a statement on Tuesday.
"The sides discussed the situation in the east of Ukraine following the recently achieved progress in the disengagement of forces. The sides expressed hope that this process would continue," the statement reads.
The leaders of Germany and Ukraine also stressed the need for full implementation of the Minsk agreements, including in the context of prisoner swaps.
"They agreed to maintain close contacts regarding further efforts within the framework of the Normandy format (Ukraine, Germany, Russia, France)," the German government said. "On top of that, they discussed the transit of gas via Ukraine and bilateral economic relations."
The office of the Ukrainian president, in turn, said in a statement that the sides discussed the recent Normandy quartet meeting of presidential advisors, which took place in Paris on July 12.
The sides "noted positive results of the recent Normandy format meeting of diplomatic advisors in Paris," the Ukrainian presidential administration’s press service said in a statement, published on its website.
Merkel and Zelensky agreed that the meeting should spur further progress in the Contact Group’s work to settle the situation in eastern Ukraine.
The sides also agreed to step up peace efforts in Donbass and underlined the importance of completing the disengagement process in the Stanitsa Luganskaya area.
The two leaders also addressed implementation of investment projects and issues of gas transit via the territory of Ukraine.
According to earlier reports, a meeting of foreign policy advisors to heads of states of the Normandy quartet took place in Paris on July 12. During the meeting, the participants agreed to carry out an exchange of captives within a month. Vadim Pristayko, deputy chief of the Ukrainian presidential staff, said on July 16 that the advisors had agreed to hold another round of talks in August.