'Glimmer of hope' for political solution in Ukraine: Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday there was a "glimmer of hope" that Ukraine could finally head towards a political solution to ending the separatist war in the country's east.
"Since September, the wide-reaching ceasefire, the pulling back of heavy and light weapons and, significantly, the cancellation of the separatists' elections, offer a glimmer of hope that the Minsk" peace deal was finally being implemented, said Merkel.
"I speak still of a glimmer of hope -- no more, no less -- but it now offers us the chance to move forward finally on the road to a political solution," she added.
Ukraine's warring sides, the pro-Western government and the pro-Moscow rebels, signed their latest in a series of ceasefire agreements on September 1.
The truce helped calm 18 months of clashes that have killed more than 8,000 people and sent Moscow's relations with the West crashing to their lowest point since the Cold War.
The two sides have also slowly begun withdrawing smaller weapons from a 30-kilometre (19-mile) wide buffer zone splitting rebel-held regions -- which have about the size and population of Wales -- from the rest of Ukraine.
© 2015 AFP