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Foreign ministers call for rapid de-escalation and cease-fire in Ukraine

Update: June, 24/2015 - 13:25

PARIS — Foreign ministers from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany have called for a "rapid de-escalation" and "immediate cease-fire" in eastern Ukraine following crisis talks in Paris.

"We expressed our serious concerns regarding the security situation in Donbass," the ministers said, referring to the war-torn region in eastern Ukraine.

"We call for rapid de-escalation and an immediate cease-fire that would allow progress in the political, humanitarian and socio-economic fields," added the statement, released by hosting French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

The ministers came together for the Paris talks as the situation appeared to be worsening on the ground in eastern Ukraine, with frequent breaches of a cease-fire deal clinched in February.

Hours before the talks in Paris, Ukrainian rebels accused government forces of killing three civilians while Kiev's Western-backed military command meanwhile reported the death of one soldier.

The ministers stressed the need for all sides to implement an agreement to withdraw heavy weapons and exchange prisoners.

The four countries also said they were "determined to continue to act in this format" of four-way talks and "do everything they could to make sure commitments are upheld and the crisis is resolved".

The 15-month separatist conflict has killed 6,500 people and plunged relations between Western powers and Moscow to lows not seen since the Cold War. — AFP

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