MUNICH - The leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine aim to hold a summit over Ukraine crisis in Minsk on Wednesday, officials in Germany and France said Sunday.
The plan for a meeting Wednesday in the Belarusian capital emerged from a phone call between German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, described the call as "intensive."
The aim is to draw up a package of measures that breathes new life into a much-violated September peace plan. Seibert and the French government said preparations for the summit will take place Monday in Berlin, without elaborating.
There will also be a meeting in Minsk by Wednesday of the signatories to last September's accord, including Russia, Ukraine and representatives of the independent-seeking insurgency, they said.
Another spokesman for German government told Xinhua that "some people" would attend the "work" in Berlin on Monday, but he refused to identify the participants.
Merkel and Hollande visited Moscow on Friday to discuss with Putin ways to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine.
In a speech at the ongoing annual Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Merkel told the audience that her attempt with Hollande deserved though "it is uncertain whether the talks will succeed."
In a separate session, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia saw "good grounds for optimism to issue recommendations for conflict resolution."
His German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier also told a German television in Munich that a progress on resolving the Ukraine crisis could be seen "in the next two or three days."
US Secretary of State John Kerry said the US and its European allies are "united in our diplomacy" on Ukraine. He said the US supports efforts by France and Germany to produce a new plan to end the conflict that is now raging in east Ukraine.
Kerry denied that there is a US-Europe rift over how to respond to the crisis and how to deal with Russia's role in it despite a debate over whether to arm the government in Kiev.
"There is no division, there is no split," Kerry said. "I keep hearing people trying to create one. We are united, we are working closely together."
His comments came amid reports of a deep trans-Atlantic rift over the Obama administration's consideration of providing defensive weaponry to Kiev. Germany and France oppose such a move, saying it could lead to an escalation and that they do not believe the conflict can be resolved militarily. Russia, which is accused of supporting separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, has said the introduction of US-supplied weaponry will have grave consequences.