MOSCOW, August 16 (RIA Novosti) - French President Francois Hollande has called on Kiev to show restraint in its operations against self-defense forces in eastern Ukraine, the Elysee Palace said in a statement following Hollande’s conversation with the EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
“They [Hollande and Barroso] noted their concerns about the situation in the eastern regions of Ukraine. The head of the state reiterated that Russia should engage in preserving Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and called on Ukraine show restraint and discretion in its ongoing military operations against the separatists,” the Elysee said.
Hollande and Barroso also stressed the dire humanitarian situation in the crisis-hit country and urged to restore political process for the conflict resolution.
“France remains prepared for a new meeting in the Normandy format in order to support this process. The meeting of foreign ministers of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia, scheduled for Sunday, may become the first step toward this,” the statement reads.
The so-called “Normandy format” was established in early June as Presidents of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine held a series of meetings over the situation in Ukraine on the sidelines of the 70th anniversary of allied troops' landing in Normandy celebrations.
Southeastern regions of Ukraine have never recognized the legitimacy of the new authorities that took over Kiev after the February 22 regime change. They started protests against the new government and held referendums on self-determination, voting to separate from Ukraine. In return, Kiev launched a special military operation to crack down on the independence supporters. Moscow continues to insist on an immediate end to the “punitive operation” in eastern Ukraine, as it will benefit every party involved.