Ukraine peace talks in Paris end in tension over who is at fault for continued violence


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PARIS — Talks about a fragile peace deal for Ukraine ended in tension Tuesday, with differences over who is at fault over continued violence despite a cease-fire.

The foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France met in Paris amid uncertainty that the accord will hold — in particular a promised withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line.

Ukraine delayed the pullout Monday, blaming continuing attacks from separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier described the talks as difficult.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin emerged grim-faced, saying they agreed on some "technical aspects" including more support for an OSCE monitoring mission — but didn't reach an agreement on condemning recent violence in the town of Debaltseve or who is at fault for continuing sporadic violence despite a cease-fire.

Under a peace agreement reached Feb. 12 by France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, both sides must withdraw their heavy weapons between 25 and 70 kilometers (15 to 45 miles) to create a buffer zone.

Sergey Lavrov of Russia said the discussion focused on the implementation of the peace deal.

"The most important thing is to ensure the cease-fire," he said according to Russian news agencies.

Fabius said they want to extend the OSCE mandate. He said all four "remain determined to continue action in this format and do the utmost to ensure" that promises are kept.

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