MOSCOW, February 2 /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the situation in Ukraine with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a telephone conversation, the Kremlin press service reported on Tuesday.
Putin and Merkel agree to "continue active joint work in the framework of the so-called ‘Normandy format’ including holding a meeting of foreign ministers in the nearest days," the press service said.
"The problems of settling the crisis situation in Ukraine was discussed in detail. The sides expressed mutual interest in ensuring sustainable peace on the contact line, and the lack of alternatives to full-scale implementation of the Minsk Agreements from 12 February 2015 was stressed," the Kremlin added.
According to the press service, "issues were separately discussed on holding a constitutional reform in Ukraine and organizing local election in Donbass in accordance with legislature coordinated with representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk."
According to German government spokesperson Steffen Seibert, Merkel said the OSCE monitors should gain long-term access to all parts of the conflict-stricken (Donbas) region, including the Ukrainian state border, in a bid to improve the situation in eastern Ukraine.
"Russia should exert influence on the separatists. The chancellor stressed the need to draft a law on local elections in Donbass as soon as possible," the German government said in a statement.
The leaders also exchanged opinion on several aspects of bilateral cooperation. "The conversation was business-like and constructive," the press service said.
The "Normandy format" brings together Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The format was first established in June 2014, when the four leaders held talks on the Ukrainian crisis during D-Day celebrations in Normandy.
On 12 February 2015, the sides signed the Minsk agreements on the settlement of the situation in Ukraine after negotiations in Minsk.
The Minsk accords envisage ceasefire, weaponry withdrawal, prisoner exchange, local elections in Donbass, constitutional reform in Ukraine and establishing working sub-groups on security, political, economy and humanitarian components of the Minsk accords.