A meeting of Ukrainian, Russian, German and French foreign ministers scheduled in Berlin on Sunday could be a first step towards a Ukraine-Russia peace summit along the lines of one that took place in Normandy last month, the French government said on Saturday.

The French statement followed a discussion earlier in the day between President Francois Hollande and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and came after an apparent escalation of tensions between the two ex-Soviet states.

Hollande called on Russia to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity and said Ukraine should exercise "restraint and discernment in its military activities" and called for a renewed "political process."

"Both men underlined the humanitarian urgency and the needs of the population in the east of Ukraine," the statement said.

"France is ready for a new summit in the Normandy format to support the process. The meeting of French, German, Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers planned for Sunday could be a first step towards that meeting."

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