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Merkel Urges Putin To Help End Violence In Eastern Ukraine

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to use his influence on separatists in eastern Ukraine to stop the violence there, a German government spokesman says.

At least 35 people were killed in a week of escalated fighting between Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed separatists in the country’s east.

In a telephone call on February 7, both leaders voiced hope the fighting would soon come to an end, spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

"To this end, the German chancellor appealed to the Russian president to use his influence on the separatists," Seibert added.

"The German chancellor and the Russian president agreed that new efforts must be made to secure a cease-fire and asked foreign ministers and their advisers to remain in close contact," he also said.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin said Putin and Merkel called for an immediate restoration of the cease-fire in eastern Ukraine during the phone call.

"Serious concerns were expressed in connection with the escalation of the armed conflict resulting in human losses," a statement said.

According to UN figures, more than 9,800 people have been killed in the conflict since April 2014.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP

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