Putin, Macron ask Kiev to grant Donbass special status: Kremlin

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MOSCOW, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron agreed Monday on the necessity for the Ukrainian authorities to grant the eastern rebel region of Donbass special status, the Kremlin said.

During a phone conversation, Putin and Macron noted that "it is necessary for Kiev to fulfil its obligations concerning political aspects of the intra-Ukrainian settlement process, first of all, the adoption of the law on the special status of Donbass," according to a Kremlin statement.

The presidents discussed the developments in Ukraine and considered the preparations for the Normandy format summit, the four-party negotiations slated for Dec. 9 in Paris.

"Both sides stressed that such a meeting should promote the immediate and full implementation of the Minsk agreements," the statement said.

The Elysee Palace announced Friday that Macron, Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will meet in the Normandy format to seek a solution to the Ukrainian crisis.

The preparations for the upcoming summit have entered the final stage, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier on Monday.

The summit is expected to firm up a plan approved in October by the Trilateral Contact Group of diplomats from Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The plan envisages holding elections in eastern Ukraine and granting the rebel region temporary special status, which requires changes in Ukraine's legislation.

Also on Monday, Russia handed over three Ukrainian navy ships it seized in the Kerch Strait in November last year for violating the Russian border. Enditem

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