Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expressed hope Thursday that the European Union would strengthen its role in seeking a peaceful solution to the Donbass conflict and reinstating Kiev’s control over Crimea.

Poroshenko stressed the importance of France and Germany’s participation in the Normandy format, as they represent the European Union.

“We hope for the further strengthening of the EU leading role in the process of the Donbas situation’s peace settlement and support of the Ukrainian international initiatives on Crimea’s de-occupation,” Poroshenko said during the EU-Ukrainian summit in Kiev.

Kiev entered into armed confrontation with Donbass militia in 2014, after the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LPR and DPR) refused to recognize the new Ukrainian government that came to power in what they perceive to be a coup. The sides to the conflict continue to exchange fire, despite the ceasefire deal that reached in Minsk in February 2015. The peace deal was brokered by the so-called Normandy Quartet that comprises Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine.

Brussels and Washington placed the blame for the eastern Ukraine conflict on Russia and continue to refuse to recognize Crimea’s rejoining Russia after the region’s March 2014 referendum. Both the United States and the European Union showed their disapproval of Russia’s alleged meddling in the Ukrainian affairs by introducing several rounds of anti-Russia sanctions despite the fact that Moscow has repeatedly refuted the allegations.

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