Germany, French FMs planning to visit Ukraine next week

Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his French counterpart are planning to visit Ukraine next week to discuss solutions to the conflict in the east of the country.

A German diplomat confirmed the planned visit by Steinmeier and France's Jean-Marc Ayrault, which was first reported Friday by Russian news agency Interfax.

The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she wasn't authorized to be quoted by name, didn't provide a precise date for the visit.

Earlier Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko spoke by phone to discuss ways of implementing measures agreed during peace talks in Minsk, Belarus, almost two years ago.

The measures are meant to halt fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed rebels who are holding large parts of eastern Ukraine.