German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting of the German government at the chancellery in Berlin, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Merkel: Ukraine vote gives leader Zelenskiy 'strong mandate'

April 23, 2019 - 11:30 am

BERLIN (AP) — Angela Merkel's office says the German chancellor has called Ukraine's president-elect to congratulate him, saying the vote gives him "a strong mandate."

Merkel spoke Tuesday with Volodymyr Zelenskiy as election officials said the former TV comedian received 73% of the vote in Sunday's runoff against incumbent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Merkel's office said she invited Zelenskiy to visit Germany, while he thanked her for supporting Ukraine and expressed an interest in continuing four-way talks with Russia and France on resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Merkel's office said Germany will "actively support Ukraine on its path of reform and in its right to sovereignty and territorial integrity."

The statement made no mention of Merkel's recent meeting with Poroshenko — widely seen as supporting his candidacy — before Sunday's vote.

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