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Germany condemns Turkish Twitter ban

Angela Merkel with Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has vowed to 'wipe out' Twitter in his country.
Angela Merkel with Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has vowed to 'wipe out' Twitter in his country. Credit: Sandra Steins/DPA

Germany has joined a host of voices criticising Turkey's ban on Twitter.

"It doesn't fit with our idea of freedom of expression to forbid or block any form of communication," Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokeswoman said.

Turkey's courts blocked access to Twitter following Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's vow, on the campaign trail ahead of March 30 local elections, to "wipe out" the service.

He says he does not care what the international community says about it, though President Abdullah Gul has objected to his actions.

Merkel: Russian tensions mean G8 does not exist

The current tension with Russia means that the G8 does not exist at the moment the German Chancellor said.

Angela Merkel said that her government had not yet decided if scheduled German-Russian consultations will take place in April.

She also confirmed that EU leaders will agree further sanctions against Russia at a summit beginning today.

Read more: EU leaders expected to extend Russian sanctions

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EU leaders expected to extend Russian sanctions

European Union leaders are likely to extend asset freezes and travel bans on key members of the Russian regime, as they meet in Brussels to discuss tougher sanctions in response to the annexation of Crimea.

David Cameron and Angela Merkel agreed to 'build on' travel bans alreayd in place.
David Cameron and Angela Merkel agreed to 'build on' travel bans alreayd in place. Credit: Christoph Schmidt/DPA/Press Association Images

In a pre-summit phone call last night, the Prime Minister and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed they would argue for the EU "building on" the travel bans and asset freezes agreed on Monday.

Merkel: Russian actions could lead to a catastrophe

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stepped up her criticism of Russia, saying the country has "exploited Ukraine's weakness instead of acting as a partner for stability."

Speaking in the German parliament, the Chancellor warned that if Russia continues its path, it would be "a catastrophe not just for Ukraine and the EU, but also for Russia."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel Credit: Oli Scarff/PA Wire

She said that EU leaders are ready to "take further action" if Russia continues to destabilise the situation.

"The territorial integrity of Ukraine cannot be called into question," she said.

Mrs Merkel said the situation in Ukraine's southern region of Crimea was not comparable to the case of Kosovo in the Balkans.

Read: Obama warns Russia ongoing Ukraine crisis has a cost

Chinese president calls for 'diplomatic solution' in Ukraine

Chinese President Xi Jinping said the crisis in Ukraine needed to be solved via diplomacy.

In a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr Xi said solution needed to be on the basis of international law, German government said in a statement.

Read: Pro-Ukraine and Russia rallies take place across Ukraine

Merkel calls Crimean referendum 'unconstitutional'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Russian President Vladimir Putin referendum planned for March 16 on Crimea joining Russia violated Ukraine's constitution and was against international law.

The Chancellor also said she regretted that there had not been any progress on forming an "international contact group" which could find a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine.

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Cameron speaks to Merkel and Hollande about Ukraine

Angela Merkel pictured with the Prime Minister in London last week Credit: Facundo Arrizabalaga/PA Wire

David Cameron has spoken to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President Francois Hollande about the crisis in Ukraine, Number 10 has revealed.

Ahead of the meeting of EU leaders on Thursday, Downing Street said they all agreed "the international community should speak with one voice and send a clear message to Russia that its actions in Ukraine were completely unacceptable."

They also talked about the importance of "the costs and consequences for the Russian government of continuing to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty."

Read the latest on the crisis in Ukraine

Merkel: Benefits immigration 'headache' in Germany too

by - Deputy Political Editor

Angela Merkel has been speaking at a joint press conference with David Cameron in Westminster:

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Merkel: What we are discussing here is "doable" but adds "I am a great champion of freedom of movement"

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Merkel: Is immigration into social security possible? It's just as much a headache for us in Germany as it is in Britain

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