German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday as tensions between government troops and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine appear to have eased.
Violations of the year-old Minsk ceasefire, which Merkel helped to negotiate along with French President Francoise Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin, have continued in the region.
But the fighting has significantly ebbed since late September, when Moscow shifted its military focus by launching a bombing campaign in Syria.
This has prompted speculation that the Kremlin could be more actively pursuing a resolution in Ukraine in hopes of removing crippling Western sanctions that were imposed over Moscow's involvement in the Ukraine crisis.
Fulfilling the conditions set out in the Minsk peace deal is obligatory if Russia wants the sanctions to be withdrawn.
In addition to the progress in implementing the Minsk accord, Russia's often fraught relations with both Kiev and Berlin are also expected to be on the agenda at Merkel's talks with Poroshenko.
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