Diplomatic and military efforts should help bring peace back to eastern Ukraine - President Poroshenko

The political directors of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine, the members of the "Normandy format" meet in Berlin today to discuss ways to settle the Ukrainian crisis.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko believes that peace will be restored to the country's eastern regions when the Ukrainian border is reliably secured and the Kiev authorities manage to regain control over these territories.

"This goal can be achieved by diplomatic efforts… This is the central topic of today's talks of the group in charge of preparations. This will become the central topic of the "Normandy format" summit involving the leaders of Germany and France if we manage to agree a draft document. This will be the main topic of a "Geneva format" meeting involving the leaders of the European Union and the U.S. if we prove able to prepare it," Poroshenko told reporters in the Zhytomyr region on Monday.

Viktor Sorokin, director of the Foreign Ministry's 2nd CIS Department, will represent Russia at this event. A similar meeting may be held at the ministerial level within the next few days as well.

Denis Pushilin, chief negotiator of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) at meetings of the trilateral Contact Group in Minsk, hopes that an upcoming "Normandy format" meeting in Berlin will address mechanisms for implementing the Minsk memorandum.

"The diplomats meeting will proceed in the "Normandy format". This format of meetings has been sufficiently productive in terms of proposing solutions to the military conflict in Ukraine. We hope that today's meeting in Berlin will clarify mechanisms for implementing the Minsk memorandum," Pushilin was quoted as saying by the Donetsk news agency.

However, Kiev is also taking advantage of today's truce in south-eastern Ukraine to better equip its army, the president said.

Three Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since December 9, when the latest ceasefire was declared, as compared with more than a dozen a day before the truce, he said.

"Only three Ukrainian servicemen have been killed as a result of shelling since December 9, when a ceasefire was declared, whereas previously we lost 15-20 every day," he said.

"It is up to you to decide whether or not it is a pseudo-truce," Poroshenko.

When asked by reporters about more than 102 unites of modernized military hardware and weapons that were transferred to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the president said that these weapons had been handed over to the most capable units active in the army operation area in eastern Ukraine.

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