Obama and Merkel consult on Russia and Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have discussed Russia's annexation of part of Ukraine and agree that international monitors must be sent immediately to southern and eastern Ukraine.

They spoke Tuesday and condemned the move by Russian President Vladimir Putin to formally annex Crimea following an overwhelming weekend vote by residents of the peninsula in favor of joining Russia. The U.S. and other Western nations refuse to recognize a vote they consider illegal.

The White House says Obama and Merkel condemned Putin's move and agreed to continue to underscore to the Russian president that a diplomatic solution remains possible.

Both leaders have agreed to stay in touch in the coming days, including at a meeting of leading industrial nations next week in the Hague.

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