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IANS

French President Emmanuel Macron and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin pledged to "avoid an escalation, reduce risks and preserve peace" in eastern Ukraine during a phone call on Sunday, the French presidential office said in a press release.

According to the Elysee, Macron and Putin have agreed to resume the work within the framework of the Normandy format on the basis of the exchanges and proposals made by Ukraine in recent days, and to enable a meeting of the trilateral contact group to be held in the next few hours with the aim of obtaining "a commitment to a ceasefire" from all the stakeholders, Xinhua news agency reported.

They also agreed on the need to favor a diplomatic solution to the current crisis and "to do everything to achieve it," adding that French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian will meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in the coming days and several consultations will be held in Paris.

"The diplomatic work should make it possible to progress on the basis of the latest exchanges by involving all the stakeholders ... in order to achieve, if the conditions are met, a meeting at the highest level to define a new order of peace and security in Europe," said the press release.

Macron also spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by telephone over the weekend.

"President Zelensky has confirmed his determination to not react to the provocations and to respect the ceasefire," the Elysee said in another press release.

On Saturday, France urged all its nationals currently in Ukraine to leave the country and advised citizens to postpone their trip there.

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