Heiko Maas / REUTERS

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said April 22 he would hold talks next week with his Russian, Ukrainian, and French counterparts to revive efforts to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Maas said he had held talks with his counterparts in recent days, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported.

The leaders of the four countries met at a summit in Paris in December 2019 to revive a peace process and for Kyiv and Russia-backed separatists in the east of the country to exchange prisoners. But lingering issues over a timeline for local elections and control over borders in the separatist-controlled regions remain.

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"We have come to the conclusion, and no one has disputed this, that key parts of the agreements from the summit in Paris have not yet been implemented," Maas said.

"That’s why it is important to give a new impetus to the decisions and the implementation of the decisions," he said.

The so-called Normandy format meeting will be held via video link.

The Ukrainian government and Russia-controlled "Donetsk People's Republic" and "Luhansk People's Republic" have conducted two prisoner exchanges since the Paris summit. Last week the two sides exchanged 34 prisoners ahead of Orthodox Easter celebrations on April 19.

Separately on April 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by phone about the conflict in Ukraine and welcomed the latest prisoner exchange, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Germany and France have mediated between Ukraine and Russia since a peace agreement was signed in Minsk in 2015, but efforts at implementation have faltered.