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Obama, Poroshenko voice 'deep concern' over Ukraine clash; US vows to keep pressure on Russia


WASHINGTON — The White House says President Barack Obama spoke Friday with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (por-oh-SHEHN'-koh) about stepped-up fighting in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russian-backed separatists.

The White House says both leaders expressed "their deep concern" about the fighting near Donetsk.

They called on Russia and the separatists to live up to the cease-fire plan reached in February in Minsk.

The telephone conversation came as Obama prepared to leave Saturday for a summit of the Group of Seven industrialized nations in Germany, where the Ukraine conflict is expected to be one of the top subjects of discussion.

The White House said Obama underscored commitments to a diplomatic resolution in eastern Ukraine and to keep economic pressure on Russia until Moscow meets the terms of the Minsk accord.

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