Ukraine: Leaders focus on elections, cease-fire in east

AP News
Posted: Dec 30, 2015 7:42 AM

PARIS (AP) — The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France are discussing elections in eastern Ukraine and want a lasting cease-fire that could bring the Ukraine conflict to an end in 2016.

French President Francois Hollande's office said in a statement that he spoke Wednesday by telephone with Russia's Vladimir Putin, Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko, and Germany's Angela Merkel about Ukraine.

It says they are committed to a cease-fire and the coordinated withdrawal of heavy weapons, and are paying special attention to preparations for local elections in the Donbass region. The statement says they called for a full implementation in 2016 of the Minsk peace agreement, signed in February.

While full-scale fighting in the war between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists died down in 2015, repeated cease-fires are routinely violated.