MOSCOW, March 16 Russian President Vladimir
Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday that the
referendum in Ukraine's Crimea complied with international law,
the Kremlin said in a statement.
Putin promised to respect Crimeans' decision, the Kremlin
added, as people cast their votes on whether to break away from
Ukraine and join Russia.
The statement said Putin also used his phone call with
Merkel to also express his concerns about an escalation of
tensions he said were caused by radical groups in the
southeastern regions of Ukraine in "connivance with Kiev's
"Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin drew attention to the fact
that the will of the population of the peninsula is being
implemented in full compliance with international law," the