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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed peacemaking efforts in Ukraine and Syria during a conference call on Wednesday, a Kremlin statement said.

It said Putin informed his counterparts about preparations for forthcoming talks on Syria backed by Russia and Turkey that are to take place in Kazakhstan on Jan. 23.

The talks come in the context of a ceasefire declared by Russia and Turkey at the end of last month that has reduced, but not ended, fighting between pro-government forces and rebels that began almost six years ago.

A Kremlin statement also said the three leaders expressed "dissatisfaction" with efforts aimed at resolving the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine, citing an "escalation of the situation" in Donbass province.

Ukraine filed a lawsuit at the United Nations' highest court demanding that Russia immediately halt its support for pro-Moscow rebels fighting in eastern Ukraine.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Mark Heinrich)

Reuters