Germany's Merkel urges Putin to influence separatists over Ukraine

BERLIN, July 19 Sat Jul 19, 2014 7:31am EDT

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BERLIN, July 19 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday to use his influence over pro-Russian separatists to reach a ceasefire in Ukraine, the German government said in a statement.

The two leaders agreed in a phone call on Saturday morning that a swift, direct meeting of the contact group of diplomats from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Russia and Ukraine was needed to reach the truce.

"Both agreed that an international, independent commission under the leadership of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) should get quick access to the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane in east Ukraine," Berlin said in a statement.

(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt; Editing by Alison Williams)

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