France calls for cease-fire in Ukraine

Amid increased violence in eastern Ukraine and allegations of Russian reinforcements moving into the area, France on Monday urged full respect for agreements between Russia and Ukraine, including a cease-fire in the region.

“We are concerned about information from the Organisation for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on the situation in East Ukraine,” the Foreign Ministry said here.

The concern was particularly addressed after reports of the arrival of unmarked vehicles and heavy weapons, presumed to be Russian, in the region and a flare-up of clashes between separatist rebels and Ukrainian troops.

“France calls for the application of the Minsk accords and notably for the full respect of the cease-fire and the effective control of the border between Russia and Ukraine,” the French statement added.

France is still withholding the delivery of two large maritime transport vessels, known as “Mistral”, to Russia because of the situation in Ukraine.

The USD 1.6 billion contract cannot be executed at this time because the “conditions are not met” for this, President Francois Hollande said some time ago.

Russia says it will invoke penalties for the delayed delivery of the “Mistral” ships, while many Western countries have called on France to cancel the deal and sell the vessels to another buyer.

Russia has also been placed under a series of financial and travel sanctions because of its support for Ukrainian rebels and its annexation last spring of the Crimea region, but Moscow has placed sanctions on European countries in return.

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