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Obama, Hollande call on Putin to pressure Ukraine rebels on talks

Published on Jul 8, 2014 6:21 AM
A pro-Russian fighter mans a checkpoint in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on July 7, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - The French and American presidents on Monday urged their Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to pressure pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine to hold talks with Kiev, a Paris statement said.

Francois Hollande and Barack Obama spoke by telephone for 45 minutes and “called on President Putin to pressure the separatists so that they agree to a dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities and to reinforce control over the Russian-Ukrainian border,” said a French presidency statement.

Obama and Hollande also called for a meeting “as quickly as possible with separatist elements, with the view to reaching a bilateral ceasefire,” it said. “A durable solution to the crisis in Ukraine can only be a political one.”