Russia's Putin discusses Ukraine with OSCE

by Reuters
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 19:41 GMT

(Adds OSCE statement, paragraphs 3-4)

MOSCOW, March 12 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday discussed the crisis in Ukraine with Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, whose country chairs the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Kremlin said.

Putin and Burkhalter "discussed the capabilities of the OSCE in the context of fostering a resolution of the crisis", the Kremlin statement said. It gave no details and said nothing about any agreement.

An OSCE statement later said the men had "talked about possible ways to overcome the current crisis" and focused on "potential modalities" for the creation of an international contact group on Ukraine.

Burkhalter also "stressed the importance of an early consensus" on the deployment of an OSCE monitoring mission to Ukraine, to contribute to an improved security situation, including for minorities, the OSCE statement said.

Talk of a mediation role for the OSCE has come to little. Burkhalter said on Tuesday the group would not send a mission to monitor a referendum in Crimea on Sunday over whether the Ukrainian region should join Russia, warning the plebiscite would be illegal. (Writing by Steve Gutterman and Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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