Europe

Merkel: Russia should help ease Ukraine crisis

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel is suggesting that Russia isn't doing enough to defuse tensions in Ukraine, and is calling for an international monitoring mission to be strengthened.

Ukraine is grappling with pro-Moscow agitation in its eastern regions. Russia has pushed for Ukraine to become a federation, with broad regional powers. Merkel told German lawmakers Wednesday that "unfortunately, in many places it is not evident how Russia is contributing to the easing of the situation."

She says Germany will continue to "use channels of communication" but also make clear that "the Ukrainians must decide themselves on their fate." The chancellor says it's "urgently necessary" for a German-championed international observer mission in Ukraine that was approved last month to be beefed up to its maximum level of 500 observers.

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