The Russian and Ukrainian leaders have both agreed to work on a renewed ceasefire. It follows new telephone talks between the German Chancellor and the French, Russian and Ukrainian presidents on Monday.
Sporadic fighting has strained the current truce between pro-Russian separatists and Kyiv, which is due to end at 10pm (June 30) local time.
Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko also agreed to free more hostages as well as setting up efficient border controls, according to a statement from the French president’s office.
The border checkpoint just north of Luhansk remains in the hands of pro-Russian rebels in defiance of Kyiv’s orders to return control to the authorities.
Many residents are fleeing to Russia as the situation continues to deteriorate.
Two hundred kilometres away in the besieged city of Slovyansk, one woman was injured and several buildings were damaged as shelling continued in violation of the ceasefire.
The threat of EU sanctions hangs over Russia if no progress is made on peace in the region.