Updated 11:04 p.m. Moscow time.
MOSCOW, October 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have discussed the preparation process for talks within the framework of the upcoming Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) forum in Italy's Milan in a phone conversation, the Kremlin press service said in a Sunday statement.
"The leaders have discussed the issues of the preparation for talks within the framework of the upcoming 'Asia-Europe' [ASEM] forum in Milan on October 16-17," the statement read.
Earlier, the presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said that during the ASEM forum Putin might meet with the leaders of Ukraine, Germany and France to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine.
Established in 1996, the ASEM is an informal platform for international dialogue, bringing together a total of 48 European and Asian nations. ASEM Summit of Heads of State and Governments, to be hosted by Milan on October 16-17, will be chaired by the President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy in association with the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso.