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    Putin, Merkel Laud Resumption of Work by Contact Group on Ukraine - Kremlin

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    In a phone conversation, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have positively assessed the resumption of the work by the Contact Group on Ukraine, and the work of the OSCE observers who are currently at checkpoints on Russia’s border with Ukraine, the Kremlin press service said Wednesday in a statement.

    MOSCOW, August 6 (RIA Novosti) - In a phone conversation, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have positively assessed the resumption of the work by the Contact Group on Ukraine, and the work of the OSCE observers who are currently at checkpoints on Russia’s border with Ukraine, the Kremlin press service said Wednesday in a statement.

    “The two leaders continued their exchange of views on the development of the acute crisis situation in Ukraine,” the Kremlin said. “The two heads of state positively assessed the resumption of work by the Contact Group, as well as the work of the recently deployed OSCE observer mission at the Donetsk and Gukovo checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border.”

    Russia also noted the importance of establishing “a real political dialogue between the authorities in Kiev and representatives from protesting regions.”

    In his conversation with Angela Merkel, Putin paid special attention to the incessant military operations by the Ukrainian security agencies in southeast Ukraine that are leading to the humanitarian crisis and killed many lives.

    “The President of Russia stressed that the authorities in Kiev are responsible for the resulting situation,” the Kremlin said in the statement.

    Moscow and Berlin agreed to continue the dialogue on Ukrainian issues at various levels.

    According to a report by the mission of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), a total of 1,367 people have been killed and another 4,087 wounded, including 2,589 civilians and 29 children since Kiev launched a special operation in eastern Ukraine in mid-April to suppress independence supporters who refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new government.

    The operation has also forced 117,000 Ukrainians to flee their homes and cross into neighboring Russia in search of shelter. Nearly 3.9 million people who stayed are now trapped in the combat zone.

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    OSCE, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel
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