Talks end with no word of a new peace plan
Five hours of talks between European leaders and Russian president Putin have ended without any word of an agreement to resolve the crisis in Ukraine.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francoise Holland arrived in Moscow to discuss a new Ukraine peace plan with Russia.
The joint mission from the two European leaders sent out signals of concern that the conflict has reached a dangerous new phase in Ukraine, which has already had a damaging effect on Russia's ties with Europe, and which is beginning to negatively impact EU economies.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the leaders had agreed on “constructive talks” in order to continue working towards a possible joint document on implementing a ceasefire agreement reached in the Belarusian capital of Minsk last September.
Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande are expected to speak next by phone today, Peskov said, indicating that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko would also take part in the conversation.
Merkel and Hollande had already held talks with Poroshenko on Thursday when they visited Ukraine.
“The talks are over for now and our guests are already on their way to the airport,” Peskov told reporters at the Kremlin.
“At the moment joint work is under way on preparing the text of a possible joint document on implementation of the Minsk agreements - a document which would include proposals made by the president of Ukraine and proposals formulated today and added by Russian President Putin.”
More than 5,000 people have now been killed in fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces in east Ukraine.