Obama calls Germany's Merkel on Ukraine

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President Barack Obama called German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the next course of action by the US and its international allies.

It is part of the US effort to galvanise international support against Russian military action in Ukraine.

The Obama administration considers Germany as an important player in resolving the Ukrainian crisis. The call yesterday is believed to have lasted about an hour.

The White House said the two leaders expressed their grave concern over Russia's clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity and agreed on the importance of de-escalating the situation, including through the deployment of international observers and human rights monitors, and of initiating direct talks between Russia and Ukraine.

"They also discussed the need to continue to support the government of Ukraine as it works to stabilise its economy and makes preparations for elections in May. The leaders agreed to stay in close contact in the days ahead," White House said.

It is believed that the administration is following a multi-pronged strategy related to the Ukrainian crisis and the Russian military action.

Topping the list includes mobilising the international community with the objective of isolating Russia, ramping up sanctions against Russia and reinforcing Ukraine's democratisation.

Officials believe that there is a strong international support against Russia and the few steps that the US and its allies have taken like stopping consultations on G-8 summit preparations is working.

It is in this regard that they point out the statement issued by China, which they consider as significant.

Given Merkel's leadership standing in Europe and her relationship with the Russian leadership, the administration considers her as an important player in this entire crisis.

This was one of the reasons why the telephonic conversation between her and Obama lasted for an hour.

At this moment, the United States is believed to have no evidence that the Russians are targeting the troops. The administration is believed to be hopeful of de-escalation of crisis.

Meanwhile at an event in Virginia, Obama said the Russians are engaging in a fundamental breach of international law.

"We may be able to deescalate it," he said.

He said that more broadly, "part of what we have to navigate around the world is our ability to help countries and allow people to determine their own destiny".


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