The Prime Minister called President Putin this morning to urge him to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine and to support the formation of a contact group that could lead to direct talks between the governments of Russia and Ukraine.
The PM made clear that we, along with our European and American partners, want to work with Russia to find a diplomatic solution to the situation in Ukraine, including Crimea.
The PM emphasised that we recognise the right of all Ukrainian people to choose their future and that the elections, currently scheduled for the end of May, provide the best way to do this. The international community should work together to ensure the elections are free, fair and inclusive.
President Putin agreed that it is in all our interests to have a stable Ukraine. He said that Russia did want to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis and that he would discuss the proposals on the contact group with Foreign Minister Lavrov tomorrow.
The PM and President Putin also discussed the serious economic challenges facing Ukraine and agreed that the international community would need to provide financial support in the months ahead.
Both leaders agreed to stay in touch on the issue in the coming days.