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Merkel says Ukraine needs secure borders to ensure peace

Merkel says Ukraine needs secure borders to ensure peace
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The German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukraininan President Petro Poroshenko met in Kyiv on Saturday.

Their talks on the crisis in eastern Ukraine came on the eve of Ukraine’s Independence Day celebrations.

Poroshenko thanked Merkel and Germany for their support of the Ukrainian people, calling her “a good friend and a strong advocate of Ukraine.”

At a press conference, the Ukrainian president outlined how Germany and the EU would provide financial assistance for the rebuilding of eastern Ukraine. Poroshenko compared it to the Marshall plan after WW2 and said this could be called the beginning of the “Merkel Plan”

He also announced that Berlin had agreed to pay for medical treatment in Germany for twenty of the most seriously wounded Ukrainian military personnel.

Both Merkel and Poroshenko stressed they wanted to ensure decentralisation but not federalisation of Ukraine along with respect for cultural and linguistic differences.

Merkel added that the open border between Russia and Ukraine must be controlled – either by the OSCE or another authority – in order to go ahead with any ceasefire and peace plan.

She also confirmed that new sanctions against Russia were not their priority and she looked ahead to talks in the Belarus capital Minsk on Tuesday between Russia, Ukraine and the EU.

The four-month conflict in the Russian-speaking east has left 2,000 dead and more than 300,000 refugees who have fled their homes