Merkel and Putin call for stronger peace effort in Ukraine: Kremlin

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during their meeting in Rio de Janeiro, on July 13, 2014. AFP PHOTO / RIA-NOVOSTI / POOL / ALEXEI NIKOLSKY

RIO DE JANEIRO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin agree the Ukraine situation "has a tendency towards degradation" and have urged an intensification of peace efforts, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday.

The two leaders met briefly before the World Cup final in Brazil. They have been in regular telephone contact over the Ukraine crisis, with Merkel urging Putin to use his influence over separatists in eastern Ukraine to help bring about an end to fighting.

"Both Putin and Merkel stressed the necessity to urgently resume the work of a contact group on Ukraine, possibly in the format of a video conference. It is their common opinion that, in order for the contact group to resume its work, a ceasefire needs to be declared as soon as possible," Peskov said.





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