Ukraine Says Four-Party Call on Conflict to Be Held Friday

Ukraine’s president will hold a conference call with the leaders of Russia, Germany and France after violence intensified in his nation’s easternmost regions.

President Petro Poroshenko will speak tonight to Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande, his spokesman, Svyatoslav Tsegolko, said Friday by phone, without giving an exact time. Eight Ukrainian servicemen died Tuesday, while a civilian was killed two days later, though fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels has since ebbed.

Renewed unrest in the more-than-yearlong conflict coincided with approval by Ukraine’s parliament of laws to divest power to the country’s separatist-held areas. The bill, which won’t face a final vote until after the summer recess, has been criticized by the rebels and Russia, which say it doesn’t meet the requirements of a February peace accord.

That pact was sealed after round-the-clock talks in Minsk, Belarus, involving Putin, Merkel and Hollande. Lawmakers also scheduled local elections for Oct. 25, though excluded rebel-held areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Friday’s call also comes a year after the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, which killed all 298 passengers and crew on board. Ukraine and the rebels blame each other for the disaster, which prompted stiffer U.S and European Union sanctions against Russia.

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