PARIS, June 14 (Xinhua) -- French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday pointed to the necessity to quickly reach a cease-fire in Ukraine, a pillar stone in the diplomatic process to de-escalate violence in Kiev.
During phone talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the two European leaders "expressed their deep concern over the continuing fighting in east of Ukraine."
"... They have emphasized the importance of reaching an early cease-fire ... to create effective conditions of a de-escalation, mainly by avoiding fighters and weapons transfer and calling on separatists to end combat," a statement released by Hollande's office said.
Hollande and Merkel, who brokered a meeting between Russian and Ukrainian leaders on the sidelines of D-Day landings on June 6, "stressed the need to reach an agreement on how to continue the supply of gas from Russia to Ukraine," the communique added.
On Saturday morning, a Ukrainian military transport plane was shot down by anti-government militants in the eastern city of Lugansk, killing 49 Ukrainian troops.
In a separate phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Porechenko, Hollande expressed his condolences over the fatal militants' attack, adding that "those responsible for this crime should be identified and brought to justice."
The French president reiterated Paris "full support" to succeed negotiations between Moscow and Kiev to find diplomatic alternative to the crisis.