Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (C) shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande during their meeting in Kiev, February 5, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]
KIEV -- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Thursday discussed ways to peacefully settle the crisis in his country with visiting French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the presidential press service said.
During the meeting, Poroshenko reiterated the importance of a full implementation of the Minsk peace agreement for resolving the conflict in Ukraine's east Donetsk and Lugansk regions, the press service said in a statement.
In particular, the Ukrainian president stressed the need to ensure a ceasefire, continue the process of prisoners of war swap and hold local elections under the Ukrainian legislation in the conflict-torn territories.
Besides, Poroshenko emphasized the importance of economic development of the restive region, saying that "serious steps" are needed to establish a free trade area in Lugansk and Donetsk and restore social protection of the region's population.
Hollande and Merkel made the trip to Kiev in a new attempt to resolve peacefully the Ukrainian crisis amid escalating conflict between government troops and pro-independence forces, which has killed over 5,300 people since April 2014. The fighting in eastern regions has intensified sharply over the past two weeks.
During the meeting, Poroshenko expressed appreciation for the European Union (EU)'s support to help Ukraine move towards peace. "The EU demonstrates unity and solidarity in the Ukrainian issue. It is extremely important for us," he said.
However, there was no revelation about the coordinated German- French diplomatic initiative and no joint declaration by the three leaders after their talks.
Hollande spoke in Paris before heading to Kiev that he and Merkel would "propose a new solution to the conflict based on the territorial integrity of Ukraine."