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Home NATIONALMajority Finns support govt position on Ukraine issue: Survey Report
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Mon, 10 Mar, 2014 12:00:33 AM
Merkel suggests Putin to form int'l contact group
UK, Russia agree to find a diplomatic solution
FTimes-Xinhua-STT Report, March 10
File picture of Russian forces block the Ukrainian base in Perevalnoye, near Simferopol, on March 6, 2014. Photo - AFP / Lehtikuva.
The majority of the Finns were pleased with the way Finland has reacted towards Russia's action in Ukraine, according to a survey report conducted by MTV.
About 70 per cent of the respondents observed that the government has taken appropriate position in this regard.
The survey results also showed that majority of Finns believe that the crisis in Ukraine is a threat to peace in Europe, reported STT.
Nearly 70 percent of the respondents believed that the crisis pose a threat to peace in the region.
In addition, the survey established that 45 percent of the respondents believe that the events in Ukraine is a threat to Finland both directly and  indirectly while 42 percent of the respondents do not believe that the crisis is a threat to the nation.
File picture of Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen at the European Union Council in Brussels, on March 6, 2014, prior to a meeting of EU Heads of States and Government dedicated to the situation in Ukraine. Photo - AFP / Lehtikuva.
About 32 percent of the respondents felt that the country should reconsider its defence policy while 52 percent did not want to see change in the defence policy.
The survey was conducted between 4-7 March and in which 1700 people were interviewed.
Meanwhile, News Agency Xinhua reports:  German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday held a phone talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin and called for substantial results in forming a contact group to find a political solution to the Ukraine crisis, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.
Merkel pointed out the urgency of establishing an international contact group which will find a political way to end the conflict in Ukraine, Seibert said in a statement.
The chancellor also stressed that the scheduled referendum in Crimea, an autonomous republic of Ukraine, is illegal and violates the Ukrainian constitution and international law, the statement added.
File picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo - AFP / Lehtikuva.
The mostly Russian-speaking Crimea, home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet, has become the epicentre of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine since President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by parliament on February 22.
The Crimean parliament on Thursday voted to become part of Russia. The parliament session also set a referendum on March 16, which would ask whether the Crimean people would like to remain part of Ukraine or join Russia.
Commenting on the simmering tensions in Crimea, Russia said Friday that they did not expect a new cold war and the West and Moscow could seek some common ground to solve the Ukraine crisis through dialogue.
Referring to the planned referendum, Russia said it reflected the common will of the Crimean people.
According to Seibert, Merkel also discussed the recent developments in Ukraine with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over phone on Saturday. 
The two leaders stressed in a joint statement that the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political unity of Ukraine must be protected. They also noted the importance of forming a committee to investigate the "violent incidents that have happened in Ukraine in recent weeks."  
File picture of Pro-Ukrainian activists sing the state anthem during q rally in the center of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on March 6, 2014, as they protest against Russian aggression in Crimea. Photo - AFP / Lehtikuva.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday agreed in a phone call that they both want to find a "diplomatic solution" to the situation in Ukraine, a Downing Street spokesperson said Sunday.
 "The Prime Minister 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 spokesperson said in a statement.
 "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," the spokesperson stated.
In the phone call, Cameron also urged Putin to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine and to support the formation of a "contact group" that could lead to what Britain described as "direct talks between the governments of Russia and Ukraine," according to the spokesperson.
Putin said he would discuss the proposals on the contact group with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday, the spokesperson noted.
The two leaders also discussed the economic challenges facing Ukraine and agreed that the international community would need to provide financial support in the months ahead, added the spokesperson.
Confronting the Ukraine crisis, a mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), including two monitors from Albania, were sent to Crimea on Sunday, a press release on Albanian Council of Ministers website reads.
Upon the request of Ukraine and in accordance with the Vienna document's Chapter III on faith and security building measures, this mission is made up of 25 OSCE member countries, including the US, European countries and representatives of Conflict Prevention Centre.
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