World Bulletin / News Desk
Lavrov and Russia’s military chief Valery Gerasimov paid an unannounced visit to Berlin after their meetings with their Israeli counterparts in Tel Aviv on Monday.
“The talks largely focused on the situation in the Middle East and especially in Syria. The conflict in eastern Ukraine was also discussed,” said Ulrike Demmer, Germany’s deputy government spokeswoman.
She said the meeting, which German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also attended, was agreed on last week by Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Later, Russia's Foreign Ministry released a statement saying that at the meeting, the talks focused on finding a Syrian settlement, including how to create conditions for the repatriation of Syrian refugees.
Regarding the upcoming meeting of the political directors of the Normandy Four -- Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia -- later this week, Merkel and Lavrov also discussed the performance of the Minsk II agreements for Eastern Ukraine.
The ministry said Lavrov and Gerasimov are heading to Paris to meet French officials, without specifying whether this would happen today or tomorrow.
Eastern Ukraine has been wracked by conflict since March 2014, after Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Conflict parties signed the Minsk cease-fire agreement in February 2015, with the mediation of France and Germany, but the fighting continued, claiming more than 10,000 lives, according to the UN.
The UN General Assembly has voted to proclaim the Russian annexation illegal.
Along with many UN countries, the U.S., the EU and Turkey do not recognize Crimea as Russian territory.