Merkel presses Russia to engage on peace plan with Ukraine

by Reuters
Saturday, 23 August 2014 12:31 GMT

KIEV, Aug 23 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on her first visit to Ukraine since the crisis there erupted early this year, pressed Moscow to engage on a peace plan with Kiev, saying success was not possible if only one side was interested in a diplomatic solution.

"There must be two sides to be successful. You cannot achieve peace on your own. I hope the talks with Russia will lead to success," said Merkel.

"The plans are on the table.. now actions must follow," said Merkel, adding that there also needed to be a ceasefire agreed with both sides.

Merkel, who has taken a lead role in mediating during the months-long crisis, said the main obstacle to a ceasefire between Ukraine forces and pro-Russian separatists battling in the east of the country was the lack of controls along the border between the two countries.

Western nations say they have ample evidence of arms being smuggled from Russia to the rebels, although Moscow has repeatedly denied this. (Writing by Madeline Chambers and Noah Barkin in Berlin)

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