A four-way summit aimed at ending military tensions on the borders of Ukraine looked to be in doubt on Monday, as German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, warned of a lack of progress from Russia.
Foreign ministers from France, Russia, Ukraine and Germany are due to meet in Berlin on Monday, but talks between the country's leaders – slated for Thursday -- look to have stalled.
It comes after a phone call between the German leader and her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Sunday. Merkel told Putin that she was concerned about the persistent tensions and humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine, according to a statement by German government spokesman Steffen Seibert.
Kiev and pro-Russia rebels had agreed on a peace plan for the conflict in September, but Merkel warned that she wanted to see concrete progress. She urged Russia to use its influence on the separatist rebels in the region to help resolve the tensions.
The Russian ruble sank around 2.5 percent against the U.S. dollar on Monday morning, with the greenback appreciating to around 62.8000 by 8:30 GMT. On Friday, the ruble closed at 61.2800 against the dollar, as credit rating agency Fitch downgraded Russia's credit rating to a BBB- with a negative outlook.
Despite the gloom, Bob Parker, a senior investment, strategy and research advisor at Credit Suisse, said he believes 2015 could see a cooling of tensions between Russia and Ukraine, and a stabilization in the ruble.
"Perhaps I'm being naive, but I'm assuming that this sort of dispute between Russia and Ukraine is now going to calm down and there's an economic factor behind that," he told CNBC Monday, adding that a contracting Russian economy would force Putin's hand.
For exporters, he said, the ruble's current levels were very favorable, as a weak ruble makes exports cheaper in the global market.
"The crisis – the selling pressure on the ruble -- I think is now behind us. I think we now stabilize," he said.
Ukraine was thrown into turmoil at the start of last year, after protests between anti-government and pro-EU demonstrators led to a change of leadership. Tensions on the streets of Kiev turned into military conflicts on the eastern border, with Moscow accused of aiding pro-Kremlin rebels in the region.