As of now, the Kremlin has not confirmed the participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Astana meeting, the president's press secretary Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Russian newspaper Vedomosti.

On the Kremlin Web site there is a report that Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have reaffirmed their readiness to support a peaceful settlement, "including the implementation of the Minsk agreements" and decided to "step up joint efforts in Norman format", including ongoing consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France have been discussing the possibility of holding a Normandy format meeting in Astana, and a ministerial meeting in this format is to be held in Berlin today, January 12.

However, on January 5, France and Germany voiced doubts that the quadrilateral meeting devoted to resolution of the conflict in Ukraine would take place next week in the capital of Kazakhstan Astana.

Both Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have said the Astana meeting must be preceded by efforts from Moscow to ensure the conditions of the Minsk Protocol on resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine are met.