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MOSCOW, April 16. /ITAR-TASS/. President Vladimir Putin has had a telephone conversation with Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Federal Republic of Germany and discussed with her the situation in Ukraine, the Kremlin press service reports.
Russia's Head of State pointed out, "The sharp escalation of the conflict puts the country, in essence, on the verge of a civil war".
The leaders of the two countries accentuated the importance of talks in a four-party format (Russia, the European Union, the United States, and Ukraine), planned for April 17. "Hope has been expressed that the sides at the meeting in Geneva will manage to convey a clear message contributing to directing the situation into a peaceful channel," a Kremlin press service official added.
The Russian President also recalled the importance of stabilizing the economy of Ukraine and of ensuring deliveries and transit of Russian natural gas to Europe. This had been reiterated in his message, dated April 10, 2014, to the leaders of a number of European countries.
As the FRG government reported, Merkel "discussed in detail" the current situation in Ukraine in a telephone talk with Putin. "The conversation focussed on preparation for a meeting of the foreing policy chiefs of Russia, Ukraine, the United States, and and (Catherine Ashton) EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy), due to be held in Geneva on April 17," Christiane Wirtz, the Cabinet's deputy spokesperson, added. According to her, the conversation was held "notwithstanding all the different estimates of the current events".
The telephone conversation was held on the initiative of the German side.