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UKRAINE

‘Going to war with Russia makes no sense’: France

France on Sunday warned of "incalculable consequences" if the situation in Ukraine deteriorates, calling on Russia and on pro-Russian rebels in the former Soviet republic to de-escalate the crisis.

'Going to war with Russia makes no sense': France
Pro-Russian activists stand guard outside a regional television station after it was seized by pro-Russian separatists, in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. Photo: Alexander Khudoteply/AFP

"The situation is very worrying," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on French television.

"When people are whipped into a frenzy and incidents proliferate, they can always boil over with incalculable consequences," he said on the eve of a meeting at which EU ambassadors will mull new sanctions against Moscow.

"It's not a question of going to war with Russia, that makes no sense. We must appeal for a de-escalation, in particular by the Russians and the pro-Russians" in Ukraine, he added.

On Sunday, pro-Russian militants in Ukraine presented a captured team of international observers as "prisoners of war", raising the stakes in the crisis as US President Barack Obama warned Moscow against "provocation".

Fabius said: "Obviously we have to say, in particular to the Russians, that each country's sovereignty must be respected. We respect Russian sovereignty the Russians should respect Ukrainian sovereignty."

The French minister said that ambassadors from the European Union's 28 member states meeting in Brussels on Monday will "prepare a new set of sanctions (against Moscow), the Americans are expected to reveal a new set of sanctions, and if things get even worse, there could be a third phase".

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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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