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Germany says Minsk ceasefire has reduced violence in east Ukraine

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert listens during a news conference of Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, July 18, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BERLIN (Reuters) - The Minsk ceasefire deal brokered by the leaders of Germany and France last month has lead to a de-escalation of the violence in east Ukraine, a government spokesman said on Monday.

“Since we agreed on the package of measures in February in Minsk, we can say that use of military violence in east Ukraine has significantly decreased,” Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular government news conference.

He was responding to a question about remarks by Ukraine’s President Poroshenko and European Council President Donald Tusk in newspaper interviews that the Minsk ceasefire had essentially failed due to repeated violations by the separatists.

Reporting by Stephen Brown; Writing by Caroline Copley