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Kremlin says steps needed for genuine ceasefire in Ukraine

A general view shows a building of the Donetsk National University of Economics and Trade, which was damaged by a recent explosion, in Donetsk, Ukraine June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

HAMBURG (Reuters) - Measures are needed that will lead to a genuine ceasefire in Ukraine, and implementation of the Minsk agreements to end the conflict there has been too slow, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

With Ukraine on the agenda, President Vladimir Putin earlier met with his counterparts from France and Germany, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, on the fringes of the G20 summit in Hamburg.

Macron said he had no ready solution to the crisis, but that the three countries had had a “good discussion” about it.

“If I had a solution in my pocket I would have already used it and shared it with my friends,” the French president said in a video posted on his Facebook account.

“We know how complicated the situation is on the ground, so we are negotiating.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was an understanding between the three countries that “effective measures should be taken, which would lead to real ceasefire on the frontline and to ensure military hardware withdrawal”.

“The Minsk accords are being implemented too slowly, serious disappointment is not concealed,” Peskov told reporters during a regular conference call.

Macron said Normandy format talks involving France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine would probably take place in coming weeks.

Progress on implementing the Minsk peace accords in an eastern Ukrainian, negotiated by Berlin and Paris, has stalled. The agreement was designed to end a conflict that has killed thousands of people since April 2014.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Marine Pennetier; editing by John Stonestreet