Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have reaffirmed their commitment to preserving a 2015 landmark nuclear agreement despite the US move to pull out of it, the Kremlin says.

The Russian and German leaders held a telephone conversation on Friday, few days after US President Donald Trump defied protests and last-minute lobbying by his European partners and unilaterally decided to withdraw from the historic nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and impose new sanctions on Tehran.

“I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal,” Trump said Tuesday in a televised address from the White House. “This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made.”

Kremlin quoted a statement issued following the call as saying that Putin and Merkel discussed the situation around the nuclear deal “following the unilateral withdrawal of the US.”

“The importance of preserving the deal from a point of view of international and regional stability was highlighted,” read the statement.

During a Thursday press conference with his visiting German counterpart, Heiko Maas, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denounced the pullout by the US of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as a “significant” violation of a United Nations resolution that endorsed the international document back then.

“We are seriously concerned about the decision of the US administration to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, thereby committing a significant violation of Security Council resolution 2231,” Lavrov said.

The German chancellor also said on Thursday that Europe can no longer rely on the United States for protection, urging European Union member states to take the bloc’s destiny in their own hands.

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