MOSCOW, June 26 (RIA Novosti) - MOSCOW, June 26 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a phone conversation Thursday, seeking to ensure the warring parties in Ukraine uphold the ceasefire, the Kremlin press service said Thursday.
“The leaders continued their exchange of opinions in the context of international assistance to settling the acute crisis situation in Ukraine. Among other things, [the sides] mentioned issues of control over the conflicting sides’ compliance with the ceasefire regime, the necessity to extend the truce and arrange regular work of the contact group, as well as the release of people held in captivity,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
Putin also noted the “deteriorating humanitarian situation [in Ukraine] and the increasing number of Ukrainian refugees on the Russian territory.”
This comes after a four-party conference call on Wednesday, in which the Russian and German leaders were joined by the presidents of Ukraine and France to delve in detail into the current truce in Ukraine. Putin reportedly spoke in favor of a longer armistice to arrange for proper negotiations.
On Wednesday, the upper chamber of Russian parliament revoked its March 1 mandate authorizing the use of military force in Ukraine.
The measure came at President Putin’s behest Tuesday and was aimed at normalizing and settling the crisis in Ukraine’s eastern regions.
Putin’s initiative came less than a week after Ukraine’s new president, Petro Poroshenko, ordered government troops and independence supporters in the country’s east to lay down their arms until June 27. The week-long unilateral ceasefire is part of Poroshenko’s 15-step peace plan unveiled last week.