MOSCOW, October 12. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have agreed in a phone talk to step up consultations aimed at implementation of the Minsk peace deal.
"The situation in Ukraine was in focus (of the conversation), in particular prospects for further international assistance in resolving the conflict inside Ukraine in strict compliance with the Minsk agreements of February 12, 2015," the Kremlin press service said on Wednesday.
"Russia’s president underscored there was no alternative to the agreements as the basis for the conflict solution," the Kremlin said, noting the leaders had agreed to hold intense talks at various levels.
Earlier, reports said that the leaders of the Normandy Four group (comprising Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany) were planning to hold a summit.
On Monday, Yuri Ushakov, an aide to the Russian president, said the top-level meeting was due to take place in Berlin.
In the meantime, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that he could not confirm the venue of and timeframe for the summit. "The preparations are underway. We will provide you with the information on the possible timeframe for holding it as soon as it is finalized," Peskov said when asked on the possible meeting of the Normandy Four group.
The "Normandy format" (Normandy Four) negotiations for the settlement of the Donbass crisis have been under way since June 2014 when the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany who gathered in Normandy for the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of D-Day (the landing of allied troops on the beaches of Normandy in 1944) discussed the settlement of the conflict in southeast Ukraine for the first time. Several "Normandy Four" meetings have taken place at the summit and ministerial levels since then.
The ministerial meeting of the Normandy Four group was last held in May in Berlin. Plans to hold talks in this format at the highest level on the sidelines of the G20 summit in China in early September were disrupted due to Kiev’s attempts to carry out a series of sabotage attacks in Crimea.