PARIS, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Russia should do more to contribute to violence de-escalation in Ukraine where "a democratic transition should be implemented via free elections," leaders of top European countries and the United States said on Friday.
In a communique released by France's president office, the Elysee, Francois Hollande, his American counterpart Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and British Prime Minister David Cameron called on Russia to respect its commitment to ease tensions in Ukraine in line with Geneva accord.
"Russia ... should contribute to the de-escalation by refraining from inflammatory statements or intimidation. Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty must be fully respected," they said in a common statement.
They also urged a swift implementation of Geneva agreement, forged last week, "to allow an exit from the crisis and prevent deterioration of the situation."
In April 17, Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union in Geneva agreed to disarm armed groups including militants who seized buildings in the east region of Ukraine, as part of a plan to restore stability in the country.
As tensions rise again in Ukraine, Hollande, Obama, Merkel, Renzi and Cameron asked their European allies and G7 nations to impose further sanctions against Moscow to guarantee the region's security.
Meanwhile, Russia began drills near the border in response to Ukrainian military operations that left five pro-Moscow protesters dead on Thursday.
Ukraine has been plunged into a chaotic violence since November 2013 following the government's backtrack on European integration which angered many in the west of Ukraine.
It was hit by a fresh wave of unrest after Crimea left Ukraine to join Russia last month.
Cameron discusses Ukraine crisis with Obama, European leaders
LONDON, April 25 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday discussed the ongoing crisis in Ukraine with U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in a phone call, a Downing Street spokesperson said.
"The five leaders welcomed the efforts by the Ukrainian government to implement the Geneva agreement, including cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and working towards constitutional reform and decentralization," a Downing Street spokesperson said in a statement following the phone call.Full story
UN chief troubled by rhetoric, hardening of positions on Ukraine
UNITED NATIONS, April 25 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged on Friday all parties involved in the Ukraine crisis to honor their commitments under the Geneva Statement, calling for an immediate halt of violence in Ukraine and practical steps to de- escalate the tension.
At a daily news briefing here, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said: "The secretary-general is alarmed by the continued violence and loss of life in eastern Ukraine. The instability is contributing to a climate of fear and anxiety that can lead to a dangerous cycle of escalating tensions and serious miscalculations."Full story
Lukashenko urges Russia, West to calm down to stabilize situation in Ukraine
MINSK, April 25 (Xinhua) -- The West and Russia should both calm down to stabilize situation in Ukraine, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Friday, underscoring the need for a credible leadership to further set the course for Ukraine.
People trusted no one in Ukraine as "they have been cheated and betrayed many times," the president said. "Today there is a need for a person, a group of people who could tell people what they are going to do, which path they are going to choose."Full story