European leaders lashed out at Russia on Saturday, as Moscow moved to deploy troops in Ukraine’s pro-Russian region of Crimea.
A range of EU officials — from Britain and Finland to Germany, France and Spain, expressing alarm over Moscow’s military plans.
“I deplore today’s decision by Russia on the use of armed forces in Ukraine. This is an unwarranted escalation of tensions,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.
French President François Hollande spoked on phone with Russian counterpart on Saturday “made clear his very deep concerns and urged him to avoid any use of force,” the French president’s office said in a statement.
The French leader also held a round of phone calls with US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel that aimed to forge a “common position” between the allies, the statement said.