Kremlin calls on France and Germany to ensure east Ukraine tensions do not cross Rubicon
MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin on Thursday called on France and Germany to use their leverage over the Ukrainian government to ensure that the events in eastern Ukraine, where tensions have risen, do not cross the Rubicon.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Moscow was seriously concerned about an increase in violence in eastern Ukraine on the line of contact between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces, which it accused of illegal bombardment.
Ukraine says the simmering conflict between its troops and Russia-backed rebels has killed around 14,000 people since 2014.
The great struggle ended with a ceasefire agreed in 2015 in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. However, sporadic clashes still kill civilians, Ukrainian soldiers and separatists.
Such clashes have become more frequent in recent weeks.
Moscow, Peskov said in a conference call, has used its own influence with pro-Russian separatists to ease tensions.
"We also hope that all of our partners in the ... (Normandy) Quartet will pay attention to the growing tension on the line of contact and use their leverage to prevent this escalation from crossing a dangerous line," said Peskov.
The heads of state and government of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine met from time to time in the so-called Normandy format to discuss the implementation of the peace agreement.
"A red line would be a full resumption of hostilities," said Peskov.
(Reporting by Dmitry Antonov and Andrew Osborn; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Andrew Osborn)
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