Merkel presses Putin to ensure Ukraine ceasefire holds

File photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin walls in Moscow, Russia, May 10, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/Files

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to use his influence to ensure a ceasefire is upheld in eastern Ukraine and OSCE monitors are granted free access to conflict areas, her spokesman said.

“Here, Russia must assert its influence on the separatists,” spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement, describing Merkel’s message to Putin.

He said the phone call took place at Putin’s request.

Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Caroline Copley