Putin voices concern over tensions in south, southeast Ukraine: Kremlin

President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, March 16, 2014, told German Chancellor Angela Merkel his country would respect the choice of the people of Crimea and expressed concern over tensions in Ukraine's Russian-speaking regions of south and southeast. --
President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, March 16, 2014, told German Chancellor Angela Merkel his country would respect the choice of the people of Crimea and expressed concern over tensions in Ukraine's Russian-speaking regions of south and southeast. -- PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin on Sunday told German Chancellor Angela Merkel his country would respect the choice of the people of Crimea and expressed concern over tensions in Ukraine's Russian-speaking regions of south and southeast.

"It has been stressed that Russia will respect the choice of Crimea's residents," the Kremlin said in a statement following phone talks between Mr Putin and Ms Merkel.

"The Russian president once again expressed concern over tensions in Ukraine's south and southeast being inflamed by radical groups with the connivance of Kiev's authorities."