Vladimir Putin attends Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will meet up in Astana on January, 15, the Ukrainian leader told journalists.

MOSCOW, December 29 (Sputnik) – The leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine will meet in the Kazakh capital of Astana on January 15, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Monday.

“My diplomatic year will begin with a Normandy format meeting on January 15 in Astana,” he told reporters.

The Normandy format was established in early June when Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Ukrainian leader met in Normandy to discuss the Ukrainian crisis.

Talks on a Ukrainian reconciliation have been conducted in four formats, the so-called Normandy, Minsk, Geneva and Weimar. The Minsk format allows for the participation of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics (DPR and LPR, respectively), and has proven the most effective. At a September 5 Minsk format meeting the sides were able to agree on a ceasefire.

The latest meeting of the Contact Group, comprising envoys from Russia, Ukraine, DPR, LPR and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), took place on Wednesday in Minsk. The second meeting, scheduled to take place Friday, did not occur. Vladislav Deinego, the chief negotiator of the LPR said, in a statement, that the talks were “difficult.”

In a statement released Sunday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for the earliest possible reconvening of a new round of negotiations of the Contact Group.