Europeans offer support to Ukraine, urge further reforms

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BERLIN (AP) — Top European diplomats offered Thursday to support Ukraine's newly elected president, while calling for further reforms in the corruption-plagued country.

Speaking before traveling to Kiev with his French counterpart, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said his country and France won't cease working to help Ukraine.

Maas said Ukrainians placed great hopes in the election of Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and "we want to offer our support to President Zelenskiy so that these hopes are fulfilled."

"For this, further reforms are necessary, especially in the fight against corruption," he added.

Maas also expressed hope that Zelenskiy's election might kick-start efforts to achieve peace in eastern Ukraine, saying Germany and France "will demand constructive contributions from Russia for this as well."

Poland's foreign minister, Jacek Czaputowicz, issued a similar message at a meeting with his Swedish counterpart, Margot Wallstrom. The two were also due to jointly travel to Kiev on Thursday to meet Zelenskiy, a former television comedian with little political experience.

Wallstrom said the visit was intended to send a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the world condemns Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

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