Accessibility links

Breaking News

German, French Ministers Visit Eastern Ukraine

The German and French foreign ministers have made their first visit to eastern Ukraine since the start of the conflict between government forces and Russia-backed separatists in 2014.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on September 15 arrived in Kramatorsk, a city controlled by the Ukrainian government.

On their arrival to the city, Steinmeier and Ayrault were met by dozens of protesters holding placards saying, "We Say No To Special Status of Donbas" and "We Are Ukraine!"

On September 14, Ukrainian leaders agreed to observe a new cease-fire in eastern Ukraine that became effective on September 15 and will last at least a week.

"We came with a promise from Moscow that effective [September 15] there will be a truce that will last at least a week," Steinmeier said on September 14, a day after the leaders of the Russia-backed separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions declared a unilateral cease-fire.

The announcement of a new cease-fire came after Steinmeier and Ayrault met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kyiv, where they urged the government to commit to the February 2015 Minsk agreement.

The Minsk peace plan envisages holding elections in separatist-held areas and partial autonomy for the country's eastern regions, known as the Donbas.

Based on reporting by AFP and