Merkel asks Putin to 'put pressure' on Ukraine's separatists

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Berlin, Jan 26: German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a phone call to "put pressure" on Ukraine's pro-Kremlin separatists to end a recent upsurge in violence that has sparked international alarm.

Merkel yesterday called on Putin to use his influence with the rebels to "avoid a new escalation" of the unrest, her spokesman Steffen Seibert said, a day after heavy rocket fire killed 30 civilians in the eastern port of Mariupol. The chancellor also said the rebels, as signatories to the peace agreements signed in Minsk last year, should sit down for talks with representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Vladimir Putin

Merkel also called Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to offer her condolences over the Mariupol attacks, which she called "a clear and unjustifiable ceasefire violation", the spokesman added. 

AFP

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