Europe

Amid tensions, Putin, Hollande, Merkel to hold Ukraine talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the 8th annual VTB Capital "Russia Calling!" Investment Forum in in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016.Russia’s economy has been on its way down since it slipped into recession at the start of last year. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik,  Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the 8th annual VTB Capital "Russia Calling!" Investment Forum in in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016.Russia‚Äôs economy has been on its way down since it slipped into recession at the start of last year. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Despite growing diplomatic tensions over Syria, the leaders of Russia, France and Germany may meet "very soon" in Berlin to revive peace efforts for Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone Wednesday with French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Hollande's office said in a statement.

The statement said they agreed that a Ukraine peace meeting would have to be "constructive and useful" toward ensuring a cease-fire and free elections. Prospects of a quick solution to Ukraine's conflict between the government and Russia-backed separatist rebels seem remote, however.

Still, the conversation was a sign that diplomatic lines of communication remain open after Russia vetoed a French U.N. resolution on Syria, France accused Russia of war crimes and Putin cancelled a trip to Paris.