Hollande urges Putin not to recognize Ukraine separatist vote
French President Francois Hollande called Monday on Russia's President Vladimir Putin not to recognize elections held by separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Warning that Sunday's vote could undermine Ukraine's territorial integrity, Hollande urged Putin "to stay within the framework" of the September 5 Minsk agreement, which set the basis for a cease-fire.
Hollande made the appeal in a speech to the Canadian parliament, the day after the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine elected their "presidents" and "parliaments," in an attempt to legitimize the region's separatist authorities.
"These are local elections whose consequences are local and call for a dialogue," said Hollande who is on a state visit to Canada that ends Tuesday.
"It is not about recognizing elections that could put in question Ukraine's territorial integrity," he said.
"There is a protocol called the Minsk accord which was signed on September 5, It is this protocol, the whole of this protocol that must be applied," he said.
Sanctions targeting Russian interests, Hollande said, are "essential .
but they should not be the sole response.
"The objective is to convince Moscow and the separatists to renounce escalation and to return to a dialogue," he said.
© 2014 AFP