No agreement yet in Ukraine cease-fire talks

Foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France gathered in Berlin in order to implement cease-fire in eastern Ukraine

Foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France gathered in Berlin in order to implement cease-fire in eastern Ukraine

BERLIN - Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany failed to come to an agreement in Berlin on Wednesday, but made progress for a political solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine, according to the German foreign minister.

The four countries’ foreign ministers gathered in the German capital for a mini-summit in order to reach a deal on an immediate cease-fire in eastern Ukraine.

"In my opinion, there has been tangible progress in our meeting," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters, following the meeting in Villa Borsig, the guest house of the German Foreign Ministry.

"We have agreed on the line of contact, the withdrawal of the heavy weapons and an immediate meeting of Trilateral Contact Group to implement the Minsk cease-fire agreement. If what was agreed upon today were to be realized, we would be a bit closer to a summit in Astana," he said.

A joint statement by the foreign ministers released after the meeting called on all the parties to cease fighting in the region.

"Fighting in the Donbass area has severely escalated causing the loss of many human lives including civilians. This must stop immediately," the statement said.

The foreign ministers also demanded that all sides involved cease hostilities and withdraw heavy weapons in accordance with the "line of contact," previously agreed upon on Sep. 19, 2014.

"Ministers reiterate that tangible progress on the full implementation of the Minsk agreements must be achieved ahead of a planned summit meeting in Astana, in particular by the creation of the relevant conditions for an effective cease-fire, an agreement on modalities for the delivery of humanitarian aid and the continuation of the release of detainees," the statement also said.

The ministers announced that all signatories of the Minsk agreement are to meet in the coming days to create the conditions for a full implementation of its provisions.

The Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists signed a cease-fire agreement in Minsk on Sept. 5, but both sides have violated it.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev had proposed in late 2014 a summit in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital city, in order to find a political solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

But the fresh wave of violence in the region has dashed plans for such a meeting.

At least 1,363 fatalities have been recorded since the September 2014 cease-fire. More than 4,800 people have been killed since April, when pro-Russian rebels seized parts of Luhansk and Donetsk.

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