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Home News Merkel quizzed Putin on Crimea parade: minister

Merkel quizzed Putin on Crimea parade: minister

Published on 08/05/2014

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has voiced her concern to Russian President Vladimir Putin about media reports he may attend Friday's military parade in Crimea, her foreign minister said.

“The chancellor has asked him personally about this,” said Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Thursday. “He left the answer open about whether he would personally attend.”

If Putin is present at the Sevastopol event — a commemoration marking victory over the Nazis in World War II — it would be his first visit to the peninsula since Russia annexed it from Ukraine in March.

“The military parade is not good,” given the contested location, added Steinmeier on German TV. “Were Putin to take part, it would make things more difficult than they already are.”

Merkel on Tuesday said it would be a “pity” if Putin were to “use” the commemoration for visiting Crimea amid the ongoing standoff with pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Putin on Wednesday urged the separatists in east Ukraine to put off an independence vote this weekend to give space for dialogue to end the crisis, the worst standoff between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.

However, the pro-Russian rebels said Thursday they would go ahead with the referendum as planned.