Chancellor Angela Merkel's office says Russia, Ukraine and France have renewed their commitment to implement a shaky peace deal for eastern Ukraine where Russian-backed rebels have been fighting government soldiers since 2014.

Over 10,000 people have died in east Ukraine since 2014 and 1.7 million have been internally displaced.
Over 10,000 people have died in east Ukraine since 2014 and 1.7 million have been internally displaced.

Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France have renewed their commitment to implementing a shaky peace deal for eastern Ukraine where fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces has flared since 2014, Germany said on Tuesday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's office said the German leader spoke by phone on Monday night with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and French President Francois Hollande.

A 2015 peace deal brokered by France and Germany has helped reduce the scale of fighting, but violence has continued and attempts at a political settlement have failed.

The German statement early on Tuesday said the four leaders stressed their commitment to implementing the "security and political aspects of the deal," underlined the importance of respecting a ceasefire and urged progress on the exchange of prisoners.

They voiced hope that the four-country format will continue under France's next president.

Skirmishes continue

The conflict broke out in April 2014 after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region following a referendum in which the majority of people in Crimea voted to join Russia.

Nearly 10,000 people have died since then and 1.7 million have been internally displaced.

Although the Minsk Protocol, a ceasefire agreement between Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany, came into effect in September 2014, skirmishes between the warring parties continue.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies