July 17, 2015 / 7:48 PM / 4 years ago

Germany, France call for Minsk agreement to be fully effective by end 2015

A local boy rides a bicycle towards Ukrainian government servicemen as they conduct a search for members of Right Sector in the village of Bobovyshche near Mukacheve, Ukraine, July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

PARIS (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande held a telephone conversation with the leaders of Russia and Ukraine on Friday to discuss the situation in eastern Ukraine, the French presidency said.

The four countries agreed on a package of measures last February dubbed “Minsk II” and aimed at ending military tensions in the former Soviet state.

Ukraine’s parliament approved a draft law on Thursday to grant two eastern separatist regions greater autonomy.

“This dynamic needs to be maintained to ensure the Minsk measures are fully effective by the end of this year”, the French presidency said in a statement.

“These political steps must go along with the strict respect of the commitments made by all parties regarding security”, the statement said.

Clashes between government forces and separatists have taken place in recent weeks despite the ceasefire agreement.

Reporting by Matthias Blamont

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