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Germany's Merkel tells Russia's Putin that Crimea referendum is 'illegal'

Published on Mar 10, 2014 1:54 AM

BERLIN (AFP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday that she considered the referendum being held in Crimea this month on joining Russia was "illegal".

"The chancellor asserted the German position forcefully that the so-called March 16 referendum on Crimea is illegal. It is against the Ukrainian Constitution and international law," her spokesman Steffen Seibert said, recounting a phone call between the two leaders.

In a strongly-worded message, Mr Seibert said that Dr Merkel also said that she "deplored the lack of progress that has been made in forming an international contact group to help find a political path and a solution to resolve the conflict in Ukraine".

Mr Seibert added that the German Chancellor had stressed the urgent need to find a result in this area.

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