Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed in a phone call Sunday that Ukraine needs a functional government immediately.

"They underscored their joint interest in a stable Ukraine — both in economic and political terms," Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement. Seibert said the two leaders would continue to keep in close contact as developments in Ukraine unfold rapidly.

In an earlier statement, the Kremlin said the call had been initiated by Berlin.

Meanwhile on Sunday, President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice said a decision by Russia to send troops to Ukraine would be a “grave mistake” because doing so would perpetuate the violence. She added that a divided Ukraine is not in the interest of Russia, Europe or the United States.

— Elisha Fieldstadt

Reuters contributed to this report.