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Kremlin: Don’t Issue Ultimatums To Putin

Vladimir Putin will not be spoken to in the language of ultimatums, a Russian radio station has quoted the Kremlin as saying.

The words came amid speculation that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had issued the Russian president with an ultimatum over the Ukraine conflict.

Reports said Germany had given him until Wednesday to agree a peace plan or face new sanctions.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Govorit Moskva radio: “Nobody has ever talked to the president in the tone of an ultimatum – and could not do so even if they wanted to.”

The leaders of Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia are preparing for a summit in the Belarussian capital of Minsk on Wednesday, aiming to end the 10-month conflict in eastern Ukraine, which has killed more than 5,000 people.

Putin hosted Merkel and the French leader Francois Hollande for talks in the Kremlin on Friday and the Wall Street Journal had reported that Merkel had given Putin until Wednesday to agree to a Franco-German peace plan.

Meanwhile, the European Union has approved new visa bans and asset freezes on more Ukrainian separatists and Russians but has suspended the new sanctions until 16 February to give peace talks a chance, according to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

He said: “The principle of the sanctions will be kept but their implementation will depend on the situation on the ground.

“We will assess the situation again next Monday.”

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