Agreement on OSCE mission only positive step in Merkel-Putin call
BERLIN, March 24
BERLIN, March 24 (Reuters) - Russia's stance on an OSCE mission in Ukraine was the only encouraging signal to come out of a phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday, a German government spokesman said.
Russia agreed on Friday with the 56 other members of the OSCE rights and security group to send a monitoring mission to Ukraine, but said the group had no mandate in Crimea, which Moscow annexed after voters on the Black Sea peninsula chose to join Russia in a referendum dismissed by Western states as a sham.
"There is an agreement between the chancellor and Putin that the OSCE mission is a welcome step ... and from our point of view, this is positive," German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Monday. "The discussion did not yield any progress on other issues." (Reporting by Michelle Martin and Noah Barkin; Writing by Sarah Marsh)