MOSCOW, May 1 (Xinhua) -- President Vladimir Putin called Thursday for an immediate "extensive national dialogue" in Ukraine, amid rising tension in that country's east and southeast.
"Putin emphasized that it was imperative today to withdraw all military units from the southeastern regions (of Ukraine) and stop the violence," the Kremlin press service said, citing a telephone conversation between Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Merkel asked Russia to provide assistance in the release of military observers from a number of European counties, including Germany, who were detained in the southeast of Ukraine, it said.
The two leaders also reiterated the importance of making the most of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's mediation potential in all parts of Ukraine.
The conversation came a day after Putin and British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed, in another telephone call, that the political confrontation in Ukraine could be overcome exclusively by peaceful means.