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Merkel, Putin Speak About Ukraine Conflict, Syria

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a G20 summit in China earlier this month

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to stabilize a fragile cease-fire in Ukraine and do all he can to improve what Merkel called a "catastrophic humanitarian situation" in Syria.

A German government spokesman said Merkel made the remarks in a September 29 phone call with Putin.

Earlier, the Kremlin said Merkel and Putin had agreed on a schedule for future contacts about Ukraine’s conflict under a format that would bring together the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France.

The Kremlin statement said the two discussed the conflict in eastern Ukraine within the framework of "reactivating work for a full implementation of the Minsk agreements."

The German government spokesman said Merkel had urged Putin to continue to implement the Minsk peace accord of 2015, which is designed to end the conflict between Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS