The Dallas Morning News

France, Germany pressure Russia

They want troops near Ukraine to withdraw

- By SYLVIE CORBET

PARIS — The leaders of France and Germany are demanding the withdrawal of Russian troop reinforcem­ents recently deployed at the border with Ukraine, the German chancellor’s office said Friday after the two heads of state held security talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Zelenskyy met Friday in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined them by teleconfer­ence. The Ukrainian president is trying to rally backing from the European Union and NATO amid growing tensions between his country and neighborin­g Russia.

Merkel’s office said the three “shared their concerns about the buildup of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine. … They demanded the withdrawal of these troop reinforcem­ents so as to achieve a de-escalation of the situation.”

Ukraine and the West have sounded alarms in recent weeks about the concentrat­ion of troops along Russia’s western border, a buildup that the U.S. and NATO have described as the largest there since 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. Ukrainian forces and Russiaback­ed separatist­s have been fighting in eastern Ukraine for seven years.

France and Germany, which helped broker a peace deal that was signed in February 2015, are working toward more Ukraine-russia talks.

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