German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday congratulated comedian Volodymyr Zelensky on his landslide victory in Ukraine’s presidential election, saying she hopes the vote will help stabilise the troubled country.
“I congratulate you on your election,” Merkel said.
“The stabilisation of Ukraine and a peaceful conflict resolution are as close to my heart as the implementation of central reforms of the judiciary, decentralisation and the fight against corruption,” her statement said.
“The Federal government will continue to actively assist Ukraine in its right to sovereignty and territorial integrity in the future.”
Merkel, who met incumbent Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko earlier this month in Berlin, added that she would welcome receiving Zelensky soon.
Germany has been a key broker in the conflict between Kiev and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014, negotiating with France the now moribund Minsk peace accords.
The war in eastern Ukraine between government forces and rebels backed by Moscow has claimed some 13,000 lives and rumbles on despite a series of periodic truce deals.
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The EU also has sanctions in force against Russia over its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas praised Poroshenko for his “great contribution to his country over the last five years” and echoed Merkel’s offer of support to Zelensky.
“Volodymyr Zelensky became known during the election campaign for further reforms and the fight against corruption,” said Maas in a statement.
“Germany will continue to stand at the side of Ukraine and offer support on this path.”