Hollande ‘worried’ by ongoing Ukraine crisis

The leaders of France and Germany Saturday voiced "extreme concern" over the ongoing violence in Ukraine and called for a ceasefire after 49 died when pro-Russian separatists shot down an army plane.

Hollande 'worried' by ongoing Ukraine crisis
French President Francois Hollande looks out of a car window during a tour of Andorra La Vella, on June, 13, 2014. AFP Photo/Fred Dufour

During a telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel "stressed the importance of rapidly reaching a ceasefire in Ukraine," according to a statement issued by Hollande's office.

"It is about creating the conditions to de-escalate the situation on the ground, especially by preventing the transfer of fighters and weapons across the border (with Russia) and calling on the separatists to end their fighting," the statement added.

Fighting between pro-Kremlin rebels and Ukrainian army troops has raged for weeks in the country's restive east and Saturday's plane crash was the single
most deadly incident in more than two months of clashes.

The French and German leaders also addressed Moscow's threat to cut off Ukrainian gas supplies if Kiev fails to settle a multi-billion dollar energy bill by Monday.

"They stressed the need to reach an agreement to settle the issue of the gas supply by Russia to Ukraine," the statement said.

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