The leaders of Germany, France and Russia have underlined the importance of implementing a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine that was agreed under the Minsk agreements.
A German government spokesman said on Saturday that Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, had met in Hamburg on the sidelines of the Group of 20 major economies, known as the G20, and agreed that the Ukraine truce must be “implemented comprehensively.”
Meanwhile, the Kremlin complained that the Minsk accords were being implemented “too slowly,” stressing that there needs to be measures leading to a genuine ceasefire in Ukraine.
“There is an understanding that effective measures should be taken, which would lead to real ceasefire on the frontline and to ensure military hardware withdrawal,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Ukraine’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations in April 2014 to crush pro-Moscow protests there.
The government in Kiev and pro-Russian forces signed a ceasefire agreement in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, in September 2014.
They agreed on 12 points, including pulling back heavy weapons, releasing prisoners, setting up a buffer zone on the Russia-Ukraine border, and allowing access to international observers.
The warring sides also inked another truce deal, dubbed Minsk II, in February 2015 under the supervision of Germany, France and Russia.
Since then, however, both parties have on numerous occasions accused each other of breaking the cessation of hostilities.
The Ukraine crisis has left almost 10,000 people dead and over 23,000 others injured, according to the latest figures provided by the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.