BERLIN (AP) — The German government said Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday accepted a proposal by Chancellor Angela Merkel to set up a "contact group" aimed at facilitating dialogue in the Ukraine crisis.
Merkel raised the idea in a phone conversation in which she accused Putin of breaking international law with the "unacceptable Russian intervention in Crimea." German government spokesman Georg Streiter said in a statement that Putin also accepted the idea of setting up a fact-finding mission.
A Kremlin statement said Putin defended Russia's action against "ultranationalist forces" in Ukraine and insisted measures taken so far were "fully adequate." It said Putin directed Merkel's attention to the "unrelenting threat of violence" to Russian citizens and the Russian-speaking population.
It didn't refer specifically to Merkel's proposal but mentioned a need to continue "consultations in both a bilateral ... and multilateral format with the aim of cooperating to normalize the socio-political station in Ukraine."
Earlier Sunday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe could be asked to put together a fact-finding mission to determine what is really happening in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
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