Merkel, Obama say Russia has violated international law in Ukraine

BERLIN Sun Mar 2, 2014 7:00pm EST

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed during a phone call late on Sunday night that Russia's "unacceptable intervention" in Crimea was "violation of international law" and urged a political solution, the German chancellor's office said.

"Obama and Merkel were in agreement that it is particularly important for the international community to show unity in the face of this wrong," her office said in a statement.

"There are also intensive efforts to see how Ukraine can be helped to manage its financial problems and humanitarian situation," the statement continued.

Merkel and Obama also agreed on the need to establish a "fact-finding mission" like a contact group, possibly under the leadership of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), to start a political dialogue.

Earlier on Sunday the German chancellor had spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had accepted her proposal for such a contact group, her office said.

(Reporting by Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Chris Reese)

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