Steinmeier praises Putin’s ‘constructive tone’ on Ukraine

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German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomed Vladimir Putin’s “constructive tone” on Ukraine Thursday, after the Russian president told rebels to halt plans for independence votes and said his troops have pulled back from the border.

“I welcome the constructive tone that President Putin used after his meeting with the OSCE President Didier Burkhalter,” Steinmeier said in a statement, calling for “what was discussed in Moscow” to be implemented immediately.

“The situation is critical, but there is still a chance that we can avoid a fresh escalation in violence and the total loss of control in eastern Ukraine by diplomatic means,” he said.

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