Merkel pledges support to Ukraine after Zelensky win

Merkel, who met incumbent Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko earlier this month in Berlin, added that she would welcome receiving Zelensky soon.

Comedian and presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky shows his ballot to the media at a polling station during the second round of Ukraine’s presidential election in Kiev on 21 April 2019. Picture: AFP.

BERLIN – 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 in a statement.

"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," she said in a statement.

"The Federal government will continue to actively assist Ukraine in its right to sovereignty and territorial integration 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.

The EU also has sanctions in force against Russia over its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.