29 February 2020

Hollande pledges to seek ‘de-escalation’ in Ukraine

KONFRONTASI-French President Francois Hollande has pledged to work towards a "de-escalation" of the crisis in eastern Ukraine, where government forces have been engaged in fierce clashes with pro-Russia forces.

"We are going to work together to find all the points that will allow... to initiate a de-escalation" in Ukraine’s east, Hollande said on Friday.

He made the remarks at a joint press conference with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev during his two-day trip to the Central Asian country.

The French president added that the solution to ease tension between the West and Russia over Ukraine should be “verbal” at first.

The conflict has posed "serious threats to the economy of the entire region," Hollande noted.

Nazarbayev, 74, who has been Kazakhstan's leader since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1989, called on the West "to put an end to sanctions" on Russia.

The United States and the European Union have imposed a series of sanctions against Russian and pro-Russia figures in recent months as they accuse Russia of destabilizing Ukraine. However, Moscow rejects the accusation.

The Kazakh president warned Western countries "not to anger Russia," urging a "compromise and a way out of this impasse."

Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence the pro-Moscow protests in mid-April.[mr/ptv]

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