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UKRAINE

France, UK urge Putin to stick to international laws

France joined forces with the UK on Monday in urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to comply with international law over the crisis in Ukraine, described by observers as the worst in Europe since the Cold War.

France, UK urge Putin to stick to international laws
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C) listens to the head of the Russian army's main department of combat preparation Ivan Buvaltsev (R) while watching military exercises. Photo: AFP

French President François Hollande on Monday urged Moscow to find a solution to the Ukraine crisis that complies with international law.

Hollande stressed after a phone call with his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski and British Prime Minister David Cameron "the need for Russia to accept a crisis resolution that conforms to international law".

A statement from the French presidency said Hollande and Cameron saw eye to eye on "the firm stance adopted by the Europeans, specifically the possible targeted measures on EU-Russian relations in the absence of a military de-escalation."

President Vladimir Putin on Saturday won approval from Russia's upper house of parliament to send troops into Ukraine due to the stand-off in Crimea following the ousting of pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych.

Observers have described Moscow's military incursion into Crimea as potentially the worst crisis since the Cold War.

Hollande and Cameron also underlined the European Union's desire to support and be involved in mediation efforts coordinated with the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

As the 28-nation bloc raced to defuse the crisis, EU president Herman Van Rompuy announced on Monday he was calling a summit of the bloc's heads of state and government on Thursday, in effect setting a time frame for Russia to act.

Earlier in the day Paris said it does not intend to suspend its military contracts with Russia, despite Russian military aggression in the Crimea.

Russia ordered two battleships from France in 2011 with an option for two more, but despite French anger over Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine, Paris says the order will go ahead.

“We’re not at that point yet,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told RTL radio.

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UKRAINE

Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi have met the Ukrainian president in Kyiv, after the trio travelled overnight by train from Poland.

Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

The three leaders left in the early hours of Thursday, arriving into Kyiv on Thursday morning. After a visit to the heavily-bombed town of Irpin, they met Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

It is the first time that the leaders of the three European Union countries have visited Kyiv since Russia’s February 24th invasion of Ukraine, and the visit comes as Kyiv is pushing for membership of the EU.

Macron has been paying a two-day visit to Romania and Moldova to discuss the ongoing crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There had been widespread speculation in France that he would combine the trip with a visit to Zelensky in Ukraine, but this was not confirmed until Thursday morning.

In a joint press conference with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, Macron reiterated his desire that Ukraine should win the war, but added that eventually negotiations between Ukraine and Russia will be necessary.

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