Germany concerned at Russia withdrawal from Ukraine monitors

The German government says it is concerned about the departure of Russian officers from a joint Russian-Ukrainian group monitoring the truce in eastern Ukraine.

The Russian officers withdrew Tuesday, saying their Ukrainian counterparts were creating a "tense psychological environment" for them.

A spokesman for Germany's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday the move could have "significant consequences for the civilian population in conflict areas of eastern Ukraine."

Rainer Breul told reporters in Berlin that the Joint Center on Control and Coordination plays an important role in facilitating and monitoring local cease-fires, allowing for mine clearance and maintenance on vital infrastructure.

Berlin is urging both sides to find a solution to ensure the monitoring group can operate. It's also calling on all sides to strengthen the fragile cease-fire and "reduce human suffering."