KYIV, Ukraine 

The president of Ukraine and his French counterpart spoke via telephone Friday and discussed the situation in eastern Ukraine, according to the presidency. 

Volodymyr Zelensky and Emmanuel Macron expressed their satisfaction with the initiation of work on the issue as part of the Normandy Format and a meeting Wednesday in Paris under the format, which includes Germany, France, Russia, and Ukraine.

“As long as diplomatic initiatives continue, the risk of tension in the future will decrease,” said Zelensky.

They also discussed issues related to economic agreements between Kyiv and Paris and the implementation of new projects.

Russia in 2014 annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in a move that has never been met with international recognition, and which has been decried by Ukraine and much of the global community as illegal.

That year also saw Russia begin its support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, a policy it has maintained for the past eight years.

In response to Russia’s actions, NATO enhanced its presence in the eastern bloc, with four multinational battalion-size battlegroups deployed to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland on a rotational basis.  

*Writing by Seda Sevencan

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