Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko Wednesday called the Minsk accord agreed to in February to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine a “pseudo-ceasefire” in an interview with German broadcaster ZDF.
In spite of the deal, fighting between Ukrainian security forces and pro-Russian separatists has continued around the port city of Mariupol and the coastal town of Shyrokyne. Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of propping up the separatists, charges Moscow denies.
In the ZDF interview, Poroshenko accused pro-Russian separatists of laying siege to Mariupol in order to create a land bridge to the Crimean peninsula, which Russia controversially annexed in March of last year, igniting the conflict.
German chancellor Angela Merkel , who held talks in Berlin Wednesday with Poroshenko said the Minsk accord was still being continually violated.
“I think it’s good that we are meeting because based on the Minsk agreement from February we have to observe that we are not yet where we want to be. We still don’t have a complete ceasefire,” Merkel said at a joint news conference with the Ukrainian president.
Merkel reiterated her support for Ukraine despite the ongoing difficulties.
“We want to continue to push things forward in the so called Normandy format. It is tiring, it is exhausting but Ukraine deserves all the support on its economic path and on the path to peace. Germany will continue this support,” Merkel said.
Poroshenko said Ukrainian soldiers are being killed in the conflict every day, and emphasized that the Minsk agreement is still not being carried out.
“Ukraine would like to implement all 13 points of the Minsk agreement. Of course we want to achieve a ceasefire and withdraw weapons and military personnel,” Poroshenko said.
He accused Russia of continuing to hold Ukrainian soldiers prisoner on Russian territory. “We would like to underline that the Minsk agreement has to be implemented,” he said.
NATO ministers meeting Wednesday in the Turkish city of Antalya warned Russian President Vladmir Putin to waste no time implementing the Minsk truce.
“I think there was strong agreement among all of the NATO members that this is a critical moment for action by Russia, by the separatists, to live up to the Minsk agreement,” said US Secretary of State John Kerry.
According to UN figures, the conflict in eastern Ukraine has killed more than 6,000 people and displaced a million since fighting broke out in April 2014 following the Russian annexation of Crimea.