Merkel, Hollande arrive in Moscow for Ukraine talks with Putin: official

6th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande arrived in Moscow on Friday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin seen as a bid to avoid an escalation of violence in Ukraine.

The French president arrived in Moscow minutes after Merkel's plane touched down at Vnukovo airport and they headed straight to see Putin.

"They are supposed to be going to the Kremlin now," a foreign ministry spokesman told AFP.

Merkel and Hollande's mission is widely seen as a desperate attempt to prevent the 10-month conflict in eastern Ukraine from spiralling out of control as Washington is considering whether to send lethal weapons to Kiev.

Merkel arrived in the Russian capital for the first time since the Ukraine crisis began more than a year ago.

Hollande last travelled to Russia in December when he made a surprise stopover in a Moscow airport in an attempt to defuse mounting tensions over Ukraine.

Ahead of the Moscow trip the German leader played down hopes of a rapid end to the surging violence.

© 2015 AFP

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