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UKRAINE: Merkel: "Ukraine calmer, but still short of ceasefire"

At a joint press conference with Ukraine's visiting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in Berlin on Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the ceasefire agreement between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country had led to a "calmer" situation, but that the ceasefire was not yet complete.

Specifically, she said the withdrawal of heavy weapons was so far insufficient.

Yatsenyuk said Ukraine was complying with the ceasefire agreement reached in Minsk in February, but that "was not necessarily the case" with regard to Russia. He said 75 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed and many more injured since the February 15 agreement.

"It's up to Russia to implement the only road map we have toward de-escalation of the situation and a peaceful resolution of the conflict," Yatsenyuk said.

With regard to the idea of elections to be held in parts of the rebel-controlled areas in Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine, Yatsenyuk said he was in favor of the idea because it would mean Ukraine "wouldn't be negotiating with terrorists but with a legitimately elected authority."

He added, however, that is was difficult to hold an election at gunpoint.

Read more: Merkel: Ukraine calmer, but still short of ceasefire | News | DW.DE | 01.04.2015

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