Leaders hail Ukraine ceasefire progress

Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to further steps in putting last month's Ukraine ceasefire accords into action on Monday evening in a phone conversation with French President Francois Hollande, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko.

Leaders hail Ukraine ceasefire progress
Ukrainian government troops ride an armoured personnel carrier on a road near Donetsk. Photo: DPA

In a statement, Merkel's office said the four leaders were happy with progress in the ceasefire between the warring parties in Ukraine and the withdrawal of heavy artillery from the front lines.

They agreed on the need for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to play a greater role in supervising the ceasefire and requested daily reports on its progress.

The leaders were also united on the urgent need for prisoner exchanges and for the provision of humanitarian aid through the Red Cross.

Once those first steps have been taken, the next step of the ceasefire agreement struck in Minsk last month will come into effect, with working groups put together to tackle further challenges.

One of the first of those will be the organization of regional elections in the Lugansk and Donetsk areas controlled by the rebels.

Senior diplomats from all four countries will meet at the foreign ministry in Berlin on Friday to continue the talks.

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