MOSCOW Dec 30 The leaders of Russia, Ukraine,
France and Germany have agreed to extend the Minsk peace accord
on Ukraine into 2016, the Kremlin said in a statement on
Wednesday, following a phone call between the four leaders.
Extension of the agreement was widely expected as a
ceasefire has been broadly holding in eastern Ukraine since
September, though sporadic clashes have continued between
pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces and many
of the agreement's terms are far from being implemented.
The original terms of the Minsk peace deal, reached in
February, were meant to be implemented by the end of 2015,
culminating with the restoration of Ukraine's full control over
its border with Russia.
The Kremlin statement said that the four leaders had agreed
on the need for full observance of a ceasefire, and had also
backed more active discussions by the Ukraine Contact Group
aimed at rapid adoption of a law about regional elections in
Talks between the four leaders take place regularly as their
four countries are the co-signatories of the Minsk peace deal.
(Reporting by Alexei Kalmykov and Darya Korsunskaya,; Writing
by Vladimir Soldatkin and Jason Bush; Editing by Andrew Osborn)