Russian President Vladimir Putin has his eyes on Crimea (Keystone)
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, in his capacity as chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), has spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin about how to end the crisis in Ukraine.
The telephone conversation included the creation of a contact group and sending an OSCE security mission to Ukraine, according to the Swiss foreign ministry.
Spokesman Jean-Marc Crevoisier said Burkhalter, who is also Switzerland’s foreign minister, and Putin had also discussed the long-term prospects of autonomy for Ukraine and its regions.
The conversation came a day after Burkhalter said that Sunday’s planned referendum in the Crimea was “illegal” and the OSCE would not be sending observers.
On Tuesday, the regional parliament in the Crimea declared the peninsula to be independent of Ukraine. The referendum will ask voters to approve a request for Crimea to be admitted to the Russian Federation.
“For any referendum regarding the degree of autonomy or sovereignty of the Crimea to be legitimate, it would need to be based on the Ukrainian constitution and would have to be in line with international law,” Burkhalter said in a statement.