ukraine crimea Donbas war russia.jpg
Photograph: EPA/SERGEY VAGANOV

The United States and Germany are jointly pressing for progress in resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine, with both countries calling for the Minsk agreement to be implemented in full, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Hanover on Sunday following talks with US President Barack Obama.

Merkel noted that there was still no stable ceasefire in the region, despite the provisions of the Minsk II agreement of February last year.

Germany has taken a leading role in seeking a solution to the conflict between separatists and the Ukrainian military, during which more than 9,000 people have died, according to UN estimates.

Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrial nations recently reaffirmed that lifting sanctions imposed on Russia for its annexation of Crimea and support of separatists in eastern Ukraine was conditional on full implementation of the Minsk agreement.

In early 2014, a pro-Russian separatist rebellion erupted in eastern Ukraine after the country ousted its pro-Russian president amid mass protests calling for closer ties with the West and after Russia occupied and annexed Crimea.

Kiev and many Western powers accused Moscow of fuelling the conflict with supplies of weapons and troops for the separatists. Moscow has adamantly denied such claims.

The ceasefire, agreed between the presidents of Russia and Ukraine in Minsk, included a requirement that Ukraine grant more autonomy to the country's two conflict-ridden regions.

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