French President Francois Hollande said after an impromptu visit to Russia for crisis talks with Vladimir Putin on Saturday that a ceasefire could take hold in eastern Ukraine in the next few days.
The Russian president, who met Hollande during his stopover at a Moscow airport after a trip to Kazakhstan, said he also hoped agreement would be reached soon to shore up a shaky truce reached for east Ukraine on Sept. 5.
Hollande’s unexpected visit underlined the West’s concern about the conflict between government forces and pro-Russian separatists, and about Putin’s increasingly hostile anti-Western rhetoric as he defies calls to do more to end the crisis.
Hollande, the first head of a leading Western power to meet Putin in Russia since Moscow annexed the Crimea peninsula in March, urged all parties to respect the Sept. 5 truce deal.
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