Putin, Hollande Discuss Ways to Assist Political Settlement in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

© RIA Novosti. Aleksey Nikolsky

MOSCOW, August 29 (RIA Novosti) – The presidents of Russia and France discussed ways to assist peaceful settlement in Ukraine in a phone conversation in the run-up to the European Council meeting due Saturday, the Kremlin said Friday.

“Ways of possible assistance to political settlement of the internal Ukrainian conflict were discussed,” the Kremlin press service said in a statement. “Both sides stressed the need to end bloodshed, tackle the humanitarian catastrophe and solve the problems solely by peaceful political means.”

Vladimir Putin and Francois Hollande agreed to continue contacts in the bilateral and multilateral formats, according to the Kremlin.

Since mid-April, Kiev has been conducting a military operation against the southeastern regions of Ukraine that refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new government after a February coup.

Moscow has repeatedly condemned Kiev’s military campaign against independence supporters in the east of the country and urged for an immediate stop to the punitive operation, advocating a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

Over 2,500 people, including the victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash, have been killed and more than 6,000 injured since the start of Kiev’s military operation against the militias in eastern Ukraine in mid-April, according to the United Nations.