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Merkel, Macron press Putin to free Ukrainian sailors



FILE PHOTO: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is seen during the opening of the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

NEW YORK (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Russian Vladimir Putin to release Ukrainian sailors who were seized along with their ships by Russia last month, Putin’s spokesman said.

Merkel and Macron met Putin separately on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina. Putin told them that the issue of the sailors was a matter for the courts, his spokesman said.

Russian channel TV Rain reported on Friday that 24 Ukrainian sailors had been taken to prison facilities in Moscow.

Reporting By Ross Colvin, editing by Daniel Flynn