Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko shared opinions on extending the peace in the country, where a tenuous cease-fire has been in effect since early December, the Kremlin said.
The four leaders discussed their desire to see the so-called contact group, consisting of representatives from the Ukrainian government in Kiev and the leaders of the separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, meet as soon as possible to discuss the implementation of a peace process agreed to in September in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, the Kremlin said.
The most important tasks for the contact group include an exchange of prisoners and the removal of heavy weapons from the front lines, the Kremlin said. Economic regeneration of the conflict area and humanitarian aid to the local population were also discussed, according to the site.
However, newly appointed secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council said Wednesday that Russia could launch a full-scale war any moment and Ukraine needed to be prepared. Oleksandr Turchynov, appointed Tuesday, said during a press conference that Russian separatists were constantly violating the cease-fire agreed to in Minsk.
He said the council need to ensure mobilization of the country’s army and resources in order to protect citizens in occupied territories and to be prepared in case of any attack.
The Kremlin communique said Wednesday that the national leaders had agreed to hold additional phone conferences in the "near future."
Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Wednesday that she and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had detected signs of increased willingness from the Russian side to solve the Ukrainian conflict.
''We shared the impression that there might be some elements that could make us think that there might be some more willingness to solve the conflict on the Russian side; on President Putin’s side,'' Mogherini said during her visit to the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Wednesday.
However, Mogherini said that similar impressions have been shared at other times in the last month and that ''what counts is not the expression of willingness, it’s the real willingness and real capacity to deliver the Minsk agreement.''
''It is for sure positive news the fact that in the last hours and days we haven’t had victims on the ground,'' Mogherini said.
Armed conflict broke out in the Donbass region of Ukraine in April. Russia has been accused of supporting the separatists with arms and trained personnel.
To date more than 4,000 people have been killed in the conflict.