EU’s Tusk calls on Russia to end violence in east Ukraine

European Council President Donald Tusk has called on Russia to use its influence with rebels in east Ukraine.

FILE: Russian troops stands guard in front of an APC at a check-point in Crimea. Picture: AFP.

BRUSSELS/PARIS - European Council President Donald Tusk, the chairperson of EU leaders’ meetings, called on Russia on Thursday to use its influence with rebels in east Ukraine to stop a recent spike in violence there.

“We are reminded again of the continued challenge posed by Russia’s aggression in eastern Ukraine,” Tusk told a news conference.

“The fighting must stop immediately. The ceasefire must be honoured.”

“Russia should use its influence to disengage the Russian-backed separatists.”

The latest spike in violence in east Ukraine - where Russia-backed rebels face off against Kiev government troops - coincides with the taking office by the new US President Donald Trump, who has promised to seek rapprochement with Moscow.

The Kremlin has said the latest flare-up of hostilities in eastern Ukraine shows the need for a swift resumption in dialogue between the United States and Russia.