Top Ukrainian official: we will not meet directly with Russian separatists

A top Ukrainian official on Wednesday ruled out the prospect of Kyiv holding direct talks with Russian-backed separatists and said that major ceasefire violations were happening in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

"There have not been and will not be any direct talks with the separatists," said Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in a statement on Facebook.

Yermak made the statement ahead of four-way talks in Paris of officials from Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany. The talks are part of efforts to defuse tensions after Russia massed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine's borders.

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