Putin agrees to dialogue with Ukraine 'contact group': Berlin

2nd March 2014, Comments 0 comments

Russia's Vladimir Putin has agreed to a proposal from Angela Merkel to set up a contact group on Ukraine, the German government said Sunday.

The German chancellor put the proposal to Putin in a telephone conversation late Sunday in which she also "accused the Russian president of violating international law with the unacceptable Russian intervention in Crimea," said a government statement.

"President Putin accepted the German chancellor's proposal to immediately establish a mission of enquiry as well as a contact group, possibly under the direction of the OSCE, to open a political dialogue," it said.

Western allies have condemned Russia's threat to invade its Western-leaning neighbour, which analysts say risks sparking the worst crisis since the Cold War.

Merkel told Putin the intervention was a violation of a 1994 Budapest memorandum on security assurances in which Russia committed itself to respecting the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine in its existing borders, as well as the 1997 treaty on the Russian Black Sea fleet, based in Crimea.

The memorandum was signed by Britain, Ukraine, Russia and the United States.

The statement said Merkel called on Putin to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity.

© 2014 AFP

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