That was Russia's humanitarian convoy started its movement, Putin said.
The Kremlin reported that the conversation was requested by the German side on the eve of Merkel’s planned visit to Kiev scheduled for August 23.
The sides expressed “serious concern over the large-scale escalation of the Kiev authorities’ military operation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which leads to new casualties among civilians.”
Putin and Merkel agreed to continue contacts on the Ukrainian issue.
Russia’s delivery of humanitarian aid to Ukraine’s embattled southeastern regions fully complies with norms of the international humanitarian laws, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Friday.
“By appealing to the norms of the international laws, which we have always observed and will be observing, means shifting the blame,” Ryabkov said.
The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry sent a convoy of some 270 trucks with relief supplies for residents of the war-torn southeast of Ukraine on August 12. The cargo contains some 2,000 metric tons of humanitarian aid, including food (grain, sugar, baby food), medications, sleeping bags and portable power generators.