Ukraine's Zelenskyy calls for summit with Merkel, Macron and Putin



French President Emmanuel Macron welcome Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and for a state summit and working lunch at Elysee Palace in Paris, France. /Getty Images

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday said he hoped to restore ceasefire in the country's war-torn eastern Donbas region next week.

Zelenskyy made the comments after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and German Chancellor Angela Merkel via video link.

In a statement released on Friday, the three leaders called for a withdrawal of Russian troops at Ukraine's border, which U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken described as "provocative".

Zelenskyy also called for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Macron and Merkel to try to ease tensions with Russia. Zelenskyy wants NATO to intervene and is also pushing for Ukraine to join both the alliance and the European Union.

Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists have been engaged in conflict in eastern Ukraine for seven years.

Attempts to reach a political settlement have stagnated, and violations of a fragile ceasefire have become increasingly frequent in recent weeks. Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other for the surge in violence in the region.

France, Germany and Ukraine, along with Russia, form the Normandy format of countries that have tried to resolve the conflict since 2015.

(With input from agencies)