(QHA) -

The foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany have called for Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to adhere to the Minsk cease-fire agreement.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, reading from a joint statement after the ministers held talks in Paris on February 24, urged the fighting sides to "start with a total cease-fire and [then] complete a withdrawal of heavy weapons."

Although fighting decreased after the peace deal was signed on February 12, mortar shelling and other violations have been reported, particularly near the southern port city of Mariupol.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the Paris talks as "useful" and left early for Moscow.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the talks had been "difficult."

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said the four had agreed on some "technical aspects" and support for an extension of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitoring mission in Ukraine. 

QHA