Merkel, Ukrainian leader Zelenskyy, meet for talks in Kyiv

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel sat down for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after traveling to Kyiv on Sunday.

The two leaders were expected to discuss relations between the countries, reforms in Ukraine and implementation of the 2015 peace deal designed to end the fighting with Russia-backed separatist in the eastern Ukraine.

Merkel's trip came two days after she went to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The chancellor is not running in Germany’s national election next month and is nearing the end of her almost 16-year-long leadership of Germany.

After meeting Putin on Friday, Merkel made it clear that she hasn't given up hope of progress on the long-stalled efforts to bring peace to eastern Ukraine, where fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists has killed more than 14,000 people since 2014.

Germany and France have worked to help broker a peaceful settlement to the conflict, including a since-violated 2015 ceasefire agreement reached in Minsk, Belarus.

“I will work until my last day in office so that the territorial integrity of Ukraine can be ensured,” Merkel said.

It’s not clear when she will step down, because Germany's outgoing government will remain in place until a new one is formed after the election.

Putin asked Merkel to reaffirm to Ukrainian authorities during her Kyiv visit the importance of honoring their obligations under the 2015 deal.

Merkel acknowledged that the parties involved “have not yet achieved the aims we wanted to achieve in the Minsk agreement" and that “there have been disappointments of the most varied kind."

The Associated Press

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