Leaders of Russia, Ukraine to meet to discuss conflict

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French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he waits for EU Council President-elect Charles Michel at the Elysee Palace Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

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PARIS (AP) — The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France will meet in Paris on Dec. 9 to try to seek a settlement for the five-year conflict in eastern Ukraine that has killed 13,000 people.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s office announced the meeting Friday after months of diplomatic efforts to get all sides to agree on new talks.

Macron’s office said it’s time for a meeting because of “major advances” in negotiations since this summer, including troop withdrawals and prisoner exchanges.

The leaders of the four countries first met in Normandy in 2014, and their group is dubbed the “Normandy Format.” They last met in 2016.

This will be the first such meeting involving Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, elected this year in part on promises to end the conflict between the neighbors.

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