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Senior German official notes ‘impressive changes’ in Moscow’s stance on Ukraine

June 24, 2014, 21:44 UTC+3 BERLIN
“These are the very same actions we wanted to see from Russia and were trying to achieve,” coordinator for German-Russian Intersocietal Cooperation Gernot Erler said
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Coordinator for German-Russian Intersocietal Cooperation Gernot Erler

Coordinator for German-Russian Intersocietal Cooperation Gernot Erler

© EPA/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE

BERLIN, June 24. /ITAR-TASS/. A senior German official promoting contact between the societies of Germany and Russia has welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s initiative to have the parliament’s permission to use the Russian army in Ukraine revoked.

“These are the very same actions we wanted to see from Russia and were trying to achieve,” coordinator for German-Russian Intersocietal Cooperation Gernot Erler told Germany’s HR-Info radio station on Tuesday.

“We can state that impressive changes have taken place in recent days” in Moscow’s position, he said, adding that it was time now to start “a substantive political dialogue”.

“It is important to know whether Russia is ready to tighten control over its border with Ukraine and to counteract arms smuggling and prevent mercenaries from crossing it,” Erler said. “This will be a central issue in the coming days.”

Putin earlier on Tuesday suggested that the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, cancel its resolution authorizing the use of Russia’s armed forces in crisis-gripped Ukraine, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.

“In connection with the start of three-party talks on this issue [settlement of the situation in Ukraine’s eastern regions] the head of state submitted to the Federation Council a proposal on cancelation of the Federation Council’s resolution of March 1, 2014 No. 48-FZ on the use of the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine,” Peskov told ITAR-TASS.

He said Putin, prior to his departure for Vienna on an official visit on Tuesday, addressed a relevant letter to Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko. The move is designed to normalize the situation in Ukraine’s East.

The Federation Council will consider Putin’s request at Wednesday’s plenary session on June 25.

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