Russia urges leaders of France, Germany to help ease Ukraine tensions
Russia has urged the leaders of France and Germany to help stop Ukraine's "provocative" actions in the restive east of the country and to encourage Kiev to observe ceasefire agreements in its long-running conflict with ethnic Russians there.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow on Friday that French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had to communicate to the president of Ukraine the "need to decisively stop any provocative actions on the contact line and emphasized the need for an unconditional observance of the ceasefire regime."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is due to hold talks with Macron and Merkel later in the day about the tensions in Ukraine's eastern Donbass region.
Peskov said there were "fewer reports of ceasefire violations coming, and indeed the number of violations has decreased." However, he said, it is necessary to continue "scrupulously monitoring the situation."
Russia has formerly called on Ukraine's foreign backers to stop providing the country with weapons and instead try and de-escalate the situation in the Donbass.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has also discussed the situation in eastern Ukraine with Merkel and Macron.
In recent weeks, tensions have mounted between Moscow and Kiev amid a spike in violence in the Russian-speaking Donbass, where Ukrainian troops and ethnic Russians have been fighting since 2014.