Putin and Merkel discuss Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by telephone and voiced satisfaction that an agreement had been reached to send monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe to Ukraine, the Kremlin said.

"The situation that has arisen after Crimea's reunification with the Russian Federation was discussed," Putin's press service said. "As for the crisis in Ukraine, both sides expressed satisfaction in connection with the agreement on a mandate for an OSCE monitoring mission."

Russia agreed on Friday with the 56 other members of the OSCE to send a six-month monitoring mission to Ukraine, but said it had no mandate in Crimea, which Moscow annexed after voters on the Black Sea peninsula chose to join Russia in a referendum dismissed by Western states as a sham.

The German government rejected Russia's assertion that the exclusion of Crimea from the mission to Ukraine was a tacit admission by the trans-Atlantic security group that the peninsula now belonged to Russia. 

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