Telephone conversation with Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande 2017-01-18 19:50:00 Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Angela Merkel and President of the French Republic Francois Hollande. The discussion dealt with progress toward implementing the Minsk agreements, including the outcome of the Normandy format summit in Berlin on October 19, 2016. Dissatisfaction was expressed with the general situation surrounding the settlement of the Ukraine crisis. In particular, the deterioration of the situation along the contact line in Donbass was noted, as well as the inadequate results of the Contact Group’s efforts. There was an emphasis on the importance of stepping up joint efforts to de-escalate tensions in southeastern Ukraine and ensuring consistent implementation of the Minsk-2 provisions, including an ”all for all“ exchange of detained persons as soon as possible. It was agreed to give an additional impetus to the Normandy format activities. In this regard, plans are in place to hold a series of meetings at various levels in the near future. President Putin briefed his colleagues on steps to implement the Russian-Turkish-Iranian agreements on a ceasefire in Syria and to prepare a meeting with the representatives of Damascus and the opposition to be held in Astana on January 23.