Putin discussed with Merkel and Hollande the worsening situation in the Donbass

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Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed by telephone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande in the implementation of the Minsk agreements. This was reported on the Kremlin website.

The interlocutors expressed dissatisfaction with the overall situation in the context of the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. The marked aggravation of the situation along the line of contact in Donbas, as well as insufficient performance in the contact group.

The parties stressed the importance of joint efforts to de-escalate tensions, ensure consistent implementation of the “Minsk-2”, including the early exchange of detained persons on the basis of the principle “all for all”.

In the near future planned joint activities at various levels to give further impetus within the framework of the “Norman Quartet”

Putin also informed the interlocutors about the steps for implementing the Russian-Turkish-Iranian agreement on a cease-fire in Syria and the preparations for the January 23 meeting in Astana with the participation of representatives of the official Damascus and the opposition.

The armed conflict in the Donbas began in the spring of 2014 after Kiev’s attempts to suppress the demonstrations in Donetsk and Lugansk regions caused by the change of power in the country. In February 2015 the leaders of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine adopted a package of measures to stabilize the situation, the so-called Minsk agreement. The agreements specifically provide for a ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons from the contact line of the warring parties, elections to local authorities.

Kiev has repeatedly accused Moscow of meddling in the conflict in the Donbas and conduct of military operations there. Russia similar statements have consistently denied, pointing to lack of evidence.