April 16, 2014 - 10:11 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The sharp escalation of the Ukraine crisis virtually puts the country on the brink of civil war, Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a telephone call, RT reported.
Putin and Merkel discussed the upcoming Ukrainian crisis talks between Russia, Ukraine, the EU and the U.S., scheduled to be held on Thursday, April 17 in Geneva.
Merkel’s press office noted that, despite some differences of opinion, the upcoming talks were the main focus of the telephone conversation. "While there were differences in the interpretation of current events, preparations for the planned meeting in Geneva...were the focus of the talks," Merkel's office said in a statement.
Putin meanwhile expressed hope that the Geneva talks will help to de-escalate the situation, and return it to peaceful cooperation. The president also reiterated the importance of stabilizing the Ukrainian economy, and ensuring the supply and transportation of Russian natural gas to Europe.
On Tuesday, Moscow urged international partners to condemn Kiev’s recent "anti-constitutional" actions in southeastern Ukraine, which it believes may lead to catastrophe.
“We are deeply concerned over the military operation launched by the Ukrainian special forces with support by the army. There have already been victims,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Russian diplomats called it a criminal offense for Ukraine to fight against its own people who demand that their lawful rights are preserved. “Current events demonstrate persistent unwillingness of Kiev’s authorities to organize a dialogue with Ukrainian regions, which is necessary for the country,” the statement reads.
Giving his reaction, Polish Foreign Minister, Radoslav Sikorskii, has said that Warsaw agrees fully with the military operation in eastern Ukraine, RIA Novosti reports. He believes the Kramatorsk actions against “armed people” who “occupy airports” to be in line with the law.
Earlier in the day, Putin also spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During the call Putin stressed that the escalation of the Ukraine crisis was the result of Kiev’s irresponsible politics, which ignored legitimate rights and the interests of the Russian-speaking population.
The two also discussed bilateral cooperation and other topics on the international agenda, including the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program.