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Russia Says Western Leaders Note Progress In Cease-Fire In Ukraine

The Kremlin says that Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko have noted "certain progress" in a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine during a telephone conversation.

The leaders of four countries also noted progress in the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the region, the Kremlin said in a statement.

However, the Kremlin statement did not mention a claim by Kyiv that Putin is open to sending a peacekeeping force to eastern Ukraine following the phone conversation on April 30.

The Ukrainian presidency statement said, "In the context of the discussion of ways towards a peaceful resolution [of the conflict], President Putin has accepted the possibility of deploying a peacekeeping contingent to the Donbas region."

The French presidency also made no mention of peacekeepers, saying in a statement that the parties had reviewed the implementation of the peace accords and "considered areas for improvement."

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

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