MOSCOW, April 25 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the Kiev authorities’ attempts to use their army against civilians in a phone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Kremlin said Friday.
“Putin and Merkel have exchanged opinions on the critical situation in Ukraine, including Kiev’s authorities not wishing to implement Geneva agreement of April 17, and Putin firmly condemned Kiev’s regime attempts to use the army against civilians in Southeastern Ukraine,” the Kremlin press office said.
Putin and Merkel emphasized the importance of holding multiparty talks on Russian gas deliveries and transit, presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said.
“Both leaders [Putin and Merkel] emphasize the importance of holding soon talks on the security of Russian gas delivery and transit issues, with the participation of Russia, the European Union, and Ukraine,” Ushakov said.
On Thursday, a spokeswoman for EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said that the venue and date of upcoming trilateral talks between Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission on the security of natural gas supplies had yet to be agreed upon.
Oettinger invited the Russian and Ukrainian energy ministries to participate in the talks, originally proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in a letter to European leaders. The Russian Energy Ministry has suggested holding the discussions on April 28 in Moscow.
Last week, top diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, the US and the EU met in Geneva and approved a statement calling on the sides in Ukraine to refrain from violence, extremism and provocations, disarm militants and launch a national dialogue on constitutional reform. Despite Kiev’s promises to lay down arms, attacks on pro-federalization protesters continue.
Federalization supporters in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Gorlovka, Slaviansk and Kramatorsk have refused to recognize the legitimacy of the current Ukrainian government and are urging interim authorities to hold referendums similar to the one held in Crimea last month, which led to the republic's reunification with Russia.