Putin will not accept ultimatums over Ukraine: Kremlin
MOSCOW/KYIV - Agence France-Presse
Ukrainian servicemen ride on an armoured vehicle near Debaltseve, eastern Ukraine, February 8, 2015. REUTERS PhotoRussia said Feb. 9 that President Vladimir Putin would not tolerate any ultimatums over Ukraine after a report said Germany had given him until Wednesday to agree a peace plan or face new sanctions.
"We've already said everything about the tone of the negotiations," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Russian radio.
"No one has ever spoken or can speak to the president in an ultimatum-like tone much as one would like to."
The leaders of Ukraine, Germany and France are preparing for a summit with Putin in the Belarussian capital Minsk on Wednesday.
The meeting aims to end 10 months of bloodshed in eastern Ukraine as Washington mulls whether to arm government forces against pro-Russian separatists.
Putin warned on Sunday that he would go to the summit only if the leaders manage to agree on a "number of points" by Wednesday. He did not elaborate.
Putin hosted Merkel and Hollande for late-night talks in the Kremlin on Friday -- the German chancellor's first visit to Russia since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis more than a year ago.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that Merkel had given Putin until Wednesday to agree to a Franco-German peace plan for Ukraine, failing which Moscow faced further sanctions.
Merkel -- who has publicly spoken out against supplying arms to Ukraine -- also told Putin privately that she would not stand in the way of Washington sending arms to Ukraine, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited unidentified Western officials.
1,500 Russian troops, military equipment enter Ukraine: Kyiv
At least 1,500 Russian troops and convoys of military hardware entered Ukraine over the weekend, the Ukrainian military said.
"One thousand five hundred Russian soldiers and 300 pieces of military equipment, including Grad missile systems, crossed the Ukraine-Russia border on February 7 and 8," Ukraine military spokesman Andriy Lysensko told journalists.
Around 170 vehicles, including trucks, petrol tankers and cars, also crossed the border, he said.
Ukraine and the West accuse Moscow of supplying troops and equipment to pro-Russian separatists battling the Kiev military in the east of the country, something Russia denies.