Germany, Russia want to 'avoid escalation' in Ukraine: Merkel

PARIS (AFP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday she had spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the two had agreed "to do everything to avoid an escalation of violence" in Ukraine.

Speaking to reporters in Paris, Merkel said she had "informed" Putin of plans to send the foreign ministers of Poland, Germany and France to Kiev on Thursday morning. "We have decided to stay in very close contact with Russia," she said.

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