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Foreign Ministers To Discuss Ukraine Conflict

The Kremlin says foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and France will meet by the middle of September to discuss the conflict in Ukraine.

Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters on August 31 that over the weekend Moscow, Berlin, and Paris have backed efforts for a new cease-fire deal in east Ukraine, where fighting between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists killed more than 6,500 people since the conflict erupted in April 2014.

After the foreign ministers' meeting "we expect leaders of the four countries to hold a phone call and we will see what they agree as to where and how to meet in person," Ushakov said.

The West accuses Russia of providing military support and personnel to the separatist rebels.

Moscow accuses Kyiv of not delivering of the provisions of a cease-fire agreement brokered by Germany and France in Minsk in February.

Violent protests broke out in Kyiv on August 31 after Ukraine's parliament backed granting a so-called "special status" to the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The parliament approved the first reading of the constitutional amendment, which states that a separate law will determine the extent of local self-governance in parts of the two regions. Of the 368 lawmakers at the August 31 session, 265 supported the bill.

The bill was submitted by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in accordance with the Minsk cease-fire agreement.

At least 300 votes will be needed to pass the constitutional amendment at the next session of parliament.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Interfax