France wants to hold a meeting among the leaders of Russia, Ukraine and Germany in the coming weeks to resolve tensions around eastern Ukraine, in hopes of eventually lifting EU sanctions.

French President Francois Hollande said Monday that he will propose such a meeting in Paris ahead of the U.N. General Assembly later this month. He said there has been progress in recent weeks in implementing a troubled February peace deal, and said if that continues, "then I will argue for lifting the sanctions."

EU sanctions and a subsequent Russian embargo have hurt many French and European companies.

Ukraine's president is pushing to devolve some powers to the regions despite internal opposition. Russia firmly denies that it has sent troops and equipment to separatists in eastern Ukraine.