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“Despite different positions on the referendum in Crimea and Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, the German chancellor and the Russian president discussed the tense situation in Ukraine,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.
Merkel “proposed to expand the existing OSCE mission in Ukraine and send more observers, primarily to Ukraine’s east. Such decision can be taken at tomorrow’s session of the OSCE Standing Committee in Vienna”, the spokesman said.
“The Russian president praised the initiative and pledged to give instructions to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov,” Seibert said.
“Due to the fact that the parties fail to create a contact group for Ukraine the German chancellor stressed the need to hold direct talks between the Russian and Ukrainian governments in order to resolve the existing issues,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the Kremlin press service reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had discussed the crisis in Ukraine by telephone and the referendum in Crimea on the peninsula’s status.
“Putin said the Crimean population’s vote is realised in compliance with the norms of international, in particular with Article 1 of the UN Charter that stipulates the principle of equality and self-determination of peoples,” the press service said.
“Russia will respect the choice of Crimean residents,” Putin said. The president expressed concern about the aggravation of the situation in eastern and east-southern regions of Ukraine, the press service said.
The Russian and German leaders also exchanged views on sending an OSCE mission to Ukraine to monitor the situation, the Kremlin press service said.