Japan's Abe, UK's Cameron urge Russia to solve Ukraine crisis

LONDON (AFP) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his British counterpart David Cameron on Thursday urged Russia to help solve the crisis in Ukraine.

Cameron and Abe - in Britain for a two-day visit - held talks at the British premier's Downing Street office.

"Both leaders called for Russia to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and work to de-escalate the situation," a spokesman for Cameron said after the meeting.

"They discussed the need for energy diversification ahead of the G7 energy ministers' meeting next week."

The Group of Seven rich countries have committed to imposing new sanctions on Russia and their leaders are meeting without G8 member Russia in Brussels in June.

Japan this week denied visas to 23 Russian nationals as part of the sanctions, as the European Union and United States ramped up their own measures against Russia.

Abe and Cameron meanwhile said they wanted an agreement in principle on an EU-Japan free trade agreement by 2015.

During his visit to London, Abe will on Friday visit the Olympic Park in London where the 2012 Games were held, as part of Japan's preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.