German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande arrived in Moscow Friday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on halting the violence in eastern Ukraine. 

Hollande had earlier stated that he and Merkel planned to make a proposal to the Russian president, but so far no details about the plan have been released. Both European leaders arrived in Moscow from Kiev, where they had spent Thursday evening discussing their proposal with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden doubted that Putin is willing to achieve peace in Ukraine.

"President Putin continues to call for new peace plans as his troops roll through the Ukrainian countryside, and he absolutely ignores every agreement his country has signed in the past," Biden told reporters in Brussels Friday. "Ukraine is fighting for their very survival right now. We, the U.S. and Europe as a whole, have to stand with Ukraine at this moment."

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed strong support for the German-French diplomatic peace initiative and asked Russia to change its course.

“The situation is very serious. It is critical and it is urgent," Stoltenberg told reporters Friday at the Munich Security Conference, a key international security forum bringing together senior figures from more than 70 countries. "Therefore, I fully support the new attempts by Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande to find a political solution.” 

Stoltenberg strongly criticized Russia for allegedly destabilizing Ukraine by supporting pro-Russian separatists, support which he said involved military training and equipment.

“The separatists have moved well beyond from the original line of contact," he said. "They have also received substantially increased supplies of weapons during the recent weeks."

Fighting continued in the region Friday, where between 500 and 700 civilians were evacuated from the town of Debaltseve by Ukrainian government forces. 

U.S. and European leaders have accused Russia of supporting the conflict with arms and ammunition, while Russia has said the U.S. and the EU have deliberately destabilized Ukraine in order to expand the West's military presence in Eastern Europe through NATO.

The UN estimates that over 5,300 people have lost their lives in the conflict between government forces and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s Donbass region since April 2014. 

Anadolu Agency