MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia's President Vladimir Putin and his French, German and Ukrainian counterparts agreed in a phonecall early Wednesday that they wanted talks between Kiev, Moscow and rebels controlling parts of eastern Ukraine to resume as soon as possible.
The telephone conversation came after the White House confirmed that US President Barack Obama will sign into law fresh sanctions against Russia.
The Kremlin said in a statement that the leaders "continued discussion of the crisis situation in Ukraine" and stressed the "necessity of a stable ceasefire" in conflict-hit eastern Ukraine.
They also noted "the importance of holding a meeting of the contact group as soon as possible in the interests of carrying out the Minsk pact," the Kremlin said, referring to a peace deal reached in September.
The so-called trilateral contact group includes representatives from the separatist side, Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE.
The leaders agreed to "continue telephone contacts in the near future," the Kremlin statement said.
The eight-month-old conflict between government forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine has left at least 4,634 dead and 10,243 wounded, and displaced more than 1.1 million people, according to new UN figures.