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MOSCOW, February 9. /TASS/. The talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande were constructive and there can be no talk of any ultimatums issued to the Russian leader, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.
"We have already said everything about the tone of the negotiations. Nobody has ever talked to the president in the tone of an ultimatum — and could not do so even if they wanted to," Peskov told a Russian radio station.
Peskov earlier described Friday’s talks in Moscow between the leaders of Russia, Germany and France as constructive and substantive. The consultations continued in a four-way telephone call this weekend between Putin, Merkel, Hollande and Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko.
Following the telephone conversation, Putin said the sides reached an agreement to hold a meeting in a Normandy format (Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France) in Minsk, Belarus, on February 11 "if by that time we manage to agree on certain positions, which have been discussed intensively lately."
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday citing Western officials that Merkel has given Putin until Wednesday to agree on a road map to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine. "If in her assessment Russian intransigence has blocked a deal, they said, Germany will likely move to step up European sanctions against Russian companies, possibly including broader asset freezes," the report said.