Crimea joining Russia 'unacceptable annexation', Hollande tells Putin

12th March 2014, Comments 0 comments

Crimea joining Russia would amount to an "unacceptable annexation," French President Francois Hollande told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a telephone conversation Wednesday.

Hollande also said a referendum due on Sunday in the flashpoint Ukrainian peninsula on whether residents want to join Russia has "no legal basis" and stressed there was still time to "prevent a dangerous and useless escalation," his office said in a statement.

Russian troops took control of Crimea shortly after Ukraine's pro-Kremlin leader Viktor Yanukovych was ousted last month, in what is Moscow's first military involvement in a neighbouring country since its brief 2008 war with Georgia.

Hollande called for a withdrawal of Russian troops from the region and asked Moscow to "respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity" of Ukraine, the statement said.

He said a presidential election due on May 25 in Ukraine to be held under international supervision and in the "greatest transparency will ensure the success of the political transition underway in Ukraine".

© 2014 AFP

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