Germany welcomes Ukraine talks but warns of human rights abuses

BERLIN Fri May 16, 2014 6:28am EDT

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BERLIN May 16 (Reuters) - The German government on Friday welcomed apparent progress in 'round table' talks in Ukraine but said international monitors had evidence of grave human rights abuses by pro-Russian groups in annexed Crimea and in the east of the country.

Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said the German chancellor was glad that talks would continue this weekend in the east Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. But he said Berlin was very concerned by an OSCE report on the human rights situation.

"There are cases of intimidation and, even worse, of abuse, torture, disappearances and murder, especially in the east and south of Ukraine. The Russian accusation that the rights of the Russian minority are being violated are not supported by this OSCE human rights report," Seibert told a news conference.

(Reporting by Stephen Brown; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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