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Crimea joining Russia `unacceptable annexation`, Hollande tells Putin

AFP | Last Updated: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 21:06

Moscow: 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".

First Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 21:02

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