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Poroshenko Meets with Merkel, Hollande

Aug. 25, 2015 (EIRNS)—Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko travelled to Berlin, yesterday, to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande, in what could be billed as a "Normandy Three" meeting, because it excluded Russian President Vladimir Putin. Merkel and Hollande gave Poroshenko a "show of support" but they didn’t openly agree to changing or abandoning the Normandy format, as he had requested.

Hollande and Merkel both "underscored" the need for fresh talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of the four-way "Normandy" format. They insisted that his absence should not be seen as a sign of worsening tensions.

"The Minsk accords must be the basis for a move toward peace in Ukraine," Merkel said. Asked about Putin’s absence from the meeting, she added: "We are still in contact with the Russian president It will be necessary to have a conversation in the Normandie format soon, and I do not exclude a physical meeting."

According to Merkel, there are differences of opinion on Ukraine between the West and Russia which "should be necessarily settled." Hollande, for his part, contradicted Kiev’s accusation that the independence forces are preparing for a new offensive. "When you are preparing an offensive you take certain actions that can be seen," a source close to Hollande told Politico EU. "That is not the case."

The Russian Foreign Ministry put out a statement yesterday, warning against Kiev’s military build-up on the line of contact, and urging the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitoring mission to act on the information that the Russian side of the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC), the military body set up under the Minsk Agreement to implement military aspects of it, is providing to it. According to the statement, officers in the JCCC have provided specific information to the OSCE on the regime’s deployments of Grad rocket launchers, heavy artillery, Tochka U missile launchers, armored vehicles with troops, and trucks for resupply.

"The Ukrainian authorities thus continue to purposefully build up heavy weaponry at the contact line in violation of the agreements reached in Minsk, which will lead to the resumption of hostilities in southeastern Ukraine,"

the ministry noted.