German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her country's support for Ukraine, while speaking alongside Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Berlin on Friday.
"We stand firmly on the side of Ukraine, especially in regards to the preservation of territorial integrity, which includes Crimea as well as the separatist-occupied territories," said Merkel.
"We always recognised and appreciated the bravery of those Ukrainian people, who showed in an impressive way in 2013 and 2014, that they stand for democracy and have continued this difficult path."
The German leader also suggested that a political solution is needed for the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and denounced the detention of 24 Ukrainian seamen in the Kerch Strait. "Again, I demand the release of these soldiers," said Merkel.
Poroshenko, for his part, warned of the potential challenges before the second round of the Ukrainian presidential election, which ic due to take place on April 21.
"At the same time there are other challenges than the election, [there are] external challenges. The Russian aggressors are waiting for April 22. I, as the president, as the commander-in-chief, will do everything to avoid the scenario. And we all fight for peace, for peace on Ukrainian soil."
"We are certain, what happens in Crimea is a human rights abuse, there are Russian secret service representatives. And we want to call on the international community to take a look at Crimea, the occupied territories and the human rights abuses there," he said.
"Together we can reincorporate Crimea within Ukraine," Poroshenko added.