France on Sunday demanded Russia immediately take measures to reduce "pointless and dangerous" tensions in Ukraine, calling the secession referendum held in the Crimea region illegal.

"(Russia) must recognise the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement. "France calls on the Russian Federation to immediately take measures that will avoid a pointless and dangerous escalation in Ukraine."

He added that the referendum in Crimea was illegal and went against the Ukrainian constitution especially given that it took place with the threat of Russian military force.

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