German Chancellor Merkel asked Russian President Putin in a telephone call to withdraw his troops from the border with Eastern Ukraine. Russia has recently strengthened its presence in the border area. Merkel calls for de-escalation, said her spokesman after the phone call.
According to the Kremlin, Putin and Merkel call on the warring parties to reticence. Negotiations should be reinstated in order to fully implement the 2015 peace plan, which agreed to end the conflict.
It is precisely today that Ukrainian President Zelensky visited the front line in Eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin told Ukraine not to use force to reclaim the area from pro-Russian separatists. “This could force Russia to intervene to protect the citizens of the area.”
Zelensky said that the army is doing everything in its power to protect his country and maintain the ceasefire.
Look here at images of President Zelensky in the trenches on the front:
Putin spoke in the conversation with Merkel about Ukraine‘s provocations, causing tensions on the front line. The government in Kiev must strictly respect the agreements made earlier, he said, according to the Kremlin. That is, a direct dialogue with separatists and an independent status for the Lugansk and Donetsk regions, which are dominated by pro-Russian separatists. Ukraine rejects these demands.
Recently, the ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine has been regularly violated. The parties blame each other for the flaring of the conflict. NATO expressed concern last week about the contraction of Russian troops at the border. The Kremlin said that this is necessary for Russia’s security. It sees any relocation of NATO soldiers to Ukraine as a threat to stability in the border area.
Situation Navalny also discussed
Merkel also spoke with Putin about the condemned opposition leader Navalny. He‘s in a prison camp with a strict regime and is sick. He’s on hunger strike and his health is rapidly deteriorating according to his lawyers.
Navalny should not see an independent doctor. His own doctor was arrested at the prison on Tuesday. What Merkel and Putin said about Navalny has not been disclosed.