Russia's Putin, Germany's Merkel want 'direct talks' between Kiev and separatists

BERLIN (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel want Kiev and pro-Russian separatists to engage in "direct talks as soon as possible", a German government spokesman said Sunday.

The two leaders agreed during talks Sunday in Rio de Janeiro that such negotiations should start "as soon as possible by video conference", spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.