German, French foreign ministers anxious about Ukraine

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The foreign ministers of France and Germany, on a visit to the Ukrainian capital, are expressing concern about political tensions that are impeding reform efforts, and about the persisting conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The two countries have been key in trying to resolve the fighting between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces, a war that has killed more than 9,000, and helped devise a cease-fire called a year ago. But that truce has appeared increasingly frayed in recent months.

The Ukrainian government has yet to pass legislation that would allow elections in the east, part of the cease-fire agreement. Western governments also are concerned that attempts to tackle endemic corruption have been only fitful.

"The situation in Ukrainian politics now reminds one of a storm," German minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Tuesday.