MOSCOW, January 18. /TASS/. Russian and French Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Francois Hollande, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed over the phone on Wednesday the progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements and expressed dissatisfaction with the overall situation with resolving the Ukrainian crisis.
"They noted, in particular the deterioration of the situation along the line of contact in the Donbass region and the lack of effectiveness in the work of the Contact Group," the Kremlin press service reported.
"They agreed to give fresh impetus to the activities within the Normandy Four format. To that end, it is planned to hold a number of joint activities at different levels in the near future," the press service said, adding that the three leaders pointed to the importance of stepping up joint efforts to defuse tensions in southeastern Ukraine, ensure compliance with the Minsk-2 provisions, including exchange of detained individuals on the basis of the "all for all" principle.
German government spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said that "the negotiations focused on the situation in eastern Ukraine and further implementation of the Minsk agreements. The heads of state and government agreed that Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine will continue to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict in the Normandy format."
"This includes the stabilization of the truce, which remains fragile, tackling legal issues and prisoner exchange envisaged by the Minsk agreements," he added.