The leaders of France and Germany told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday that rebel-run elections conducted in the separatist-controlled regions of Ukraine would endanger the so-called Minsk peace process for the country, a German government spokesman said. Ukraine is obliged to hold local elections by the end of this year in the east under the cease-fire deal agreed between Kiev, Moscow, Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in Minsk, Belarus, on Feb. 12. The country will hold local elections on Oct. 25 but has said it won’t run elections in rebel-held areas in the east because of continued violence there. The separatists have said they will hold their own ballots in mid October and early November.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande and Mr. Putin spoke by phone after the two western leaders met Monday with their Ukrainian counterpart in Berlin, urging all parties involved in the peace process to end the fighting that has recently flared up in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, who is reluctant to see the separatists legitimized, insisted at a meeting in Brussels on Thursday that his country’s Oct. 25 local elections can’t include areas where violence is still prevalent.