German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the prospects for peace in Ukraine remain clouded after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Merkel spoke in Munich on February 7, at a security conference dominated by concerns about a conflict between government forces and Russian-backed rebels that has killed more than 5,350 people in eastern Ukraine since April.

The German leader had returned hours earlier from Moscow, where she and French President Francois Hollande presented a peace proposal to Putin after discussing it with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kyiv a day earlier.

"After the talks yesterday in Moscow that the French president and I had, it is uncertain if it will succeed," Merkel said. "But it is in my view and the French president's view definitely worth trying. We owe it to the people affected in Ukraine, at the very least."

Hollande said the Franco-German efforts were "one of [the] last chances" for peace.

He said if a lasting agreement cannot be found, "we know the's called war."