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European Leaders Call on Russia to De-escalate Situation in Crimea

Saturday, 01 March 2014 07:17 AM

LONDON — Leaders from Britain, France and Germany reacted to Russian moves on pro-European Union Ukraine leaders by calling for a de-escalation of tensions and a new round of emergency talks to head off the worsening crisis.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Saturday he had spoken to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to address the standoff between the new government in Ukraine's capitol of Kiev and pro-Russian interests in Ukraine's Crimea.

"Have spoken to Foreign Minister Lavrov to call for de-escalation in Crimea and respect for sovereignty and independence of Ukraine," Hague tweeted.

Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Saturday said the territorial integrity of Ukraine "must absolutely be respected," speaking on the sidelines of a congress of European social-democrats in Rome.

"There is a requirement that must absolutely be respected — the territorial integrity of the country," Ayrault said, adding: "Everything must be done for this integrity to be totally respected. This requires a great sense of responsibility from all the players."

The U.K's Hague said on Friday he would travel to Ukraine on Sunday to hold talks with the new leadership after Prime Minister David Cameron told Russia to respect the volatile nation's territorial integrity. Cameron spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said she was concerned by the developments in Crimea.

"What is happening in Crimea worries us," Merkel said in a speech at a cultural event in Berlin, stressing the importance of "preserving the territorial integrity" of Ukraine.

The European Union's foreign ministers are expected to hold a new round of emergency talks on Ukraine within days, EU diplomats told Agence France Presse on Saturday.

"There is talk of a meeting early next week," said a senior diplomat who asked not to be identified as another EU official said the talks would "probably" be convened on Monday by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
 

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British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Saturday he had spoken to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to call for a de-escalation of the situation in Ukraine's Crimea.
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2014-17-01
Saturday, 01 March 2014 07:17 AM
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