Putin and Merkel fight over legitimacy of Crimean referendum
During a telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that the referendum in the Crimea, which is to take place on March 16, is illegal.
Angela Merkel also said that the upcoming event is contrary to the Constitution of Ukraine and international law. The chancellor expressed regret over the fact that the International Contact Group, which could find a political solution to the Ukrainian crisis, had not been formed.
Earlier, the chancellor warned that if the group was not going to be established in the near future, the EU may impose sanctions against Russia, especially if negotiations with Russia brought no positive changes.
In turn, on March 9, during telephone conversations with British PM David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Markel, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that the decisions taken by the legitimate government of the Republic of Crimea were based on the norms of international law.
Officials from the press-service of the Kremlin said that the "Russian president also paid attention to the fact that the sitting authorities in Kiev were taking no action to curb the development of ultranationalist and radical forces in the capital and many regions of Ukraine."
The sides also discussed the current public and political situation in Ukraine and touched upon the upcoming referendum in the Crimea. "Despite differences in assessing the current events in Ukraine, the sides expressed common interest in deescalating the tense situation in the region," the Kremlin said.
Putin, Merkel and Cameron discussed possible variants for the use of international efforts to regulate the crisis, the press service of the Kremlin administration said.