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Russia blocking release of Ukrainian hostages - Ukrainian president

Russia blocking release of Ukrainian hostages - Ukrainian presidentUkrainian President Petro Poroshenko in a phone talk with French President Francois Hollande and Advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel Christoph Heusgen has said that Moscow is blocking the release of hostages. Poroshenko also said that the security element in the context of the situation in Donbas is especially important.

"The Ukrainian and French presidents agreed that the security element that Russia has not yet been observed and this should be the top priority part of the road map on the implementation of Minsk Agreements. The Ukrainian president said that Moscow is blocking the release of hostages, which is absolutely unacceptable," the press service of the Ukrainian president reported.

Poroshenko informed Hollande about the increase in the number of attacks by Russia-backed militants, including the use of heavy arms. He said that there are no OSCE permanent points in the districts where armed forces are pulling back.

The Ukrainian and French presidents agreed on continuing consultations in Minsk at the level of diplomatic advisors of the heads of Normandy Format states. The leaders of Ukraine, France and Germany will then hold a press conference.

Poroshenko thanked delegations from Germany and France for supporting the resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe about the necessity of retaining sanctions against Russia.

He also urged European Union (EU) member states to accelerate the provision of a visa-free regime for Ukrainians and to ratify the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement.
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