Foreign ministers in Ukraine talks call for ceasefire

The foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France ended their latest Berlin crisis meeting on Wednesday with a joint call to end hostilities in Ukraine but no ground-breaking agreement.

Berlin: The foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France ended their latest Berlin crisis meeting on Wednesday with a joint call to end hostilities in Ukraine but no ground-breaking agreement.

The four top diplomats in their statement said they "call on all sides involved to cease hostilities and to withdraw heavy weapons" back from a demarcation line agreed in a September truce pact signed in Minsk.

"I`m not going to say we saw a breakthrough, but I think we saw tangible progress today," said the host, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, adding that coming days would show whether there is real progress or not.

The talks had been "difficult" and had "tested the patience of all participants," said Steinmeier after his meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Ukraine`s Pavlo Klimkin and Laurent Fabius of France.

"Much will depend on whether what we agreed is just printed on paper or whether the situation on the ground really changes," he told journalists after almost four hours of talks.

The ministers also said in their statement that they noted "with serious concern that... fighting in the Donbass area has severely escalated causing the loss of many human lives including civilians". 

"This must stop immediately and the regime of quiet must be restored."

They said that before a hoped-for Kazakhstan peace summit can be held, there must be tangible progress on the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, including an effective ceasefire and on ways to deliver humanitarian aid to the region.

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