19:42 GMT +319 July 2019
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a press conference following the Russia-France-Germany-Turkey summit on Syria in Istanbul on October 27, 2018.

    Putin, Merkel Discuss Kerch Strait Incident, Syria, INF Treaty in Phone Talks

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed in phone talks on Monday the recent Kerch Strait incident, as well as the situation around the INF Treaty and the developments in Syria, the Kremlin press service reported.

    "The leaders continued the discussion of the situation that occurred as a result of the violation of the Russian state border by the Ukrainian ships on November 25. They expressed mutual interest in preventing the escalation of tensions in the Azov-Black Sea area and in resolving problems caused by provocative actions by the Ukrainian authorities," the press service said in a statement.

    Meanwhile, the German government noted that the central topic of the discussion was the recent Kerch Strait incident involving Russia and Ukraine.

    On November 25, three ships of the Ukrainian Navy breached the Russian border, entered Russian territorial waters that were temporarily closed, and began moving toward the Kerch Strait, which serves as an entrance into the Sea of Azov. The Ukrainian vessels and their crew were detained by Russia after failing to respond to a lawful demand to stop. 

    In addition, Putin and Merkel touched upon the subject of the Syrian conflict, stressing the priority nature of the tasks to promote the inter-Syrian dialogue and the formation of the Constitutional Committee, according to the statement.

    "The leaders also exchanged views on the situation in the area of strategic security in light of the US administration's plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces [INF Treaty]. They agreed to continue contacts at various levels," the statement said.

    The press service of the German government said that Merkel and Putin also discussed the transit of Russian natural gas through Ukraine after 2019.

    READ MORE: Russia Allegedly Sends Sub to Kerch Strait as Tensions With Ukraine Soar (PHOTO)

    "The [German] Chancellor and the [Russian] President also discussed gas transit from Russia through Ukraine after 2019, as well as the situation in Syria with focus on the formation of a constitutional committee," the press service said in a statement.

    "The sides also discussed the situation around the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty [INF Treaty]," the statement said.

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    Tags:
    Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), gas, Kerch Strait, Ukraine, Germany, Russia
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