Updated 22:22 Moscow time.
MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann discussed in a phone call on Thursday the situation in Ukraine and relations between Moscow and Brussels, the Kremlin said.
"The sides stressed the importance of assistance to the resolution of the crisis in Ukraine and strict adherence to the ceasefire regime," the Kremlin press service said in a statement.
"Putin and Faymann also emphasized the urgent need to normalize relations between Russia and the European Union," the statement said.
Earlier on Thursday, the European Parliament in a statement has called for the European Union to adopt a clear set of criteria that Russia needs to meet in order for the EU to lift its economic sanctions against Moscow or stop adopting new ones. The document has also stressed the need to reestablish relations of "partnership and cooperation" with Russia.
Relations between Russia and the West have deteriorated due to the situation in Ukraine. The European Union, the United States and their partners have imposed several rounds of anti-Russian economic sanctions over Moscow's alleged role in the Ukrainian internal conflict, a claim Russia has repeatedly denied. In August, Russia was forced to respond by banning certain food imports from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia and Norway.
The latest round of western sanctions against Moscow came into effect on September 12, despite the holding ceasefire between the Kiev's forces and the independence supporters of eastern Ukraine, which was agreed upon at a Contact Group meeting in Minsk.