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Putin, Hollande, Merkel continuing talks in Kremlin

The leaders of France and Germany have come to Moscow to discuss possible ways of settling the situation in eastern Ukraine

MOSCOW, February 6. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are continuing talks in the Kremlin.

"The talks are being held in a narrow format, members of the delegations and experts are not present," Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

After 1.5 hours of tete-a-tete talks without journalists, the leaders went out to reporters.

Putin, Merkel and Hollande posed for a couple of minutes in front of photographers and cameramen. Then Putin thanked journalists and asked them to go out.

The two European leaders have arrived in Moscow to discuss possible ways of settling the situation in eastern Ukraine. On Thursday, Merkel and Hollande paid a brief visit to Kiev to meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. No details of their Ukrainian visit were made public.

The French leader said earlier he and the German Chancellor were bringing some proposals to Moscow. No details of these proposals have been revealed so far. The British media say this peace plan is based on reworded proposals the Russian leader previously referred to the European leaders.

Earlier on Friday, Russian president’s aide Yuri Ushakov said Friday’s meeting between the three leaders had been prompted by an aggravating situation in Ukraine. "But also the numerous initiatives the Russian president voiced in phone conversations with Merkel, Hollande and Poroshenko in recent weeks have been good incentives [to the process]," Ushakov said, referring in particular to Putin’s letter to Poroshenko on January 15, in which he suggested an immediate pullback of heavy artillery.

"We are ready for a constructive conversation aiming to achieve certain agreements which will help to stabilize the situation and to establish direct contacts between official representatives of Kiev and Donbass," the presidential aide said, adding these agreements "should facilitate the more effective work of the Contact Group and assist in restoring economic ties between the Ukrainian government and the country's south-east."