German Chancellor Angela Merkel, talks during a roundtable meeting on "Political Leadership to Prevent and End Conflicts" at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Monday, May 23, 2016. (Ozan Kose/Pool Photo via AP)
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The leaders of Russia and Ukraine discussed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President preparations to hold elections in an eastern Ukrainian area hit by a pro-Russian insurrection, according to the German government.The EU imposed sanctions on Russia after Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 and stepped them up later that year when pro-Russian rebels seized territory and fought Ukrainian troops in eastern Ukraine.In a constellation called the Normandy Format, Germany and France have repeatedly tried to push Russia and Ukraine towards resolving the conflict.
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