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Merkel, Obama condemn 'unacceptable blows' to Ukraine

Russia's President Vladimir Putin addresses a joint session of parliament on Crimea in the Kremlin in Moscow, on March 18, 2014German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama in a phone call condemned Russia’s moves to annex Crimea but said “a clear path” remains to solve the crisis diplomatically. The two leaders also agreed in their exchange on Tuesday that Ukraine’s territorial integrity had suffered “unacceptable blows”, according to a a German government spokesman. Obama and Merkel spoke after President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty claiming the Black Sea region of Crimea as Russian territory, and as Ukraine warned the showdown had entered a “military stage” after soldiers were killed on both sides. Russia’s move, less than three weeks after pro-Moscow troops first seized control of the strategic peninsula, was slammed by Western leaders.

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