Putin and Merkel discuss situation in Donbas over phone
Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the situation in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a phone talk on Thursday.
Both Putin and Merkel voiced concern over the rising tensions in the southeast of Ukraine, the Kremlin said in a statement.
"Vladimir Putin drew attention to the provocative actions of Kiev, which has recently purposefully escalated the situation on the line of contact. The need for the Kiev authorities to strictly implement the previously reached agreements was stressed, first of all, to establish a direct dialogue with Donetsk and Luhansk and to legally formalize the special status of Donbass," it said.
The parties to the conflict were called upon to exercise restraint and intensify the negotiation process to fully implement the 2015 Minsk Agreement as a non-alternative basis for a settlement, it said.
The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to further close coordination of efforts between Russia and Germany, including in the Normandy format through political advisers and the foreign ministries.