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Putin, Merkel Talk Ukraine As Ashton Meets Yanukovych

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (left) shakes hands with EU foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton during a meeting in Kyiv on January 29.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chancellor Angela Merkel of European power Germany have discussed Ukraine in a telephone conversation.

Merkel's office said the chancellor urged Putin to push Ukrainians toward constructive dialogue.

A Kremlin statement said Putin stressed the unacceptability of outside interference.

Earlier on January 29, Putin said Russia would wait until Ukraine forms a new government before Moscow fully provides a $15 billion bailout to ease Ukraine's economic crisis.

The Ukrainian government resigned on January 28.

Whether a new cabinet will include pro-European opposition figures remains unclear.

After talks in Kyiv with President Viktor Yanukovych on January 29, European Union foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton called on Ukrainians to end "violence and intimidation."

The Ukrainian parliament, meanwhile, has continued debating an amnesty for people detained in connection with the last two months of unrest.

Based on reporting by Interfax and AFP