Political dialogue a must for Kiev, Donbass, Putin tells Merkel

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have held telephone talks on the initiative of the German side, Putin's press service said on Saturday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have held telephone talks on the initiative of the German side, Putin's press service said on Saturday.

"The talks were a follow-up to the earlier discussions of various aspects of crisis settlement in Ukraine. Putin made a point that priority importance should be given to compliance with the ceasefire agreement and to support for the economic rehabilitation of the regions in southeastern Ukraine, affected by the crisis. The two leaders said that efforts to establish a direct political dialogue between Kyiv and Donbas have no alternative and are an imperative," the press service said.

Putin and Merkel reaffirmed the determination to facilitate the peaceful settlement process in Ukraine further with due account taken of the Minsk agreements, according to the press service.

"In this context the parties agreed to intensify their joint efforts in the Normandy format, including consultations between the Russian and German foreign ministries," the press service said.

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