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Merkel phones Putin over Ukraine violence

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Merkel phones Putin over Ukraine violence
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: DPA
22:27 CET+01:00
Chancellor Angela Merkel urged her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a phone call on Sunday to "put pressure" on Ukraine's pro-Kremlin separatists to end a recent upsurge in violence.

Merkel 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 Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

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.

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