With a repeatedly violated weeklong cease-fire nearly over, Ukrainian President
"Support the peace plan with deeds, not words," Poroshenko urged Russia in a speech at the Council of Europe parliament building in Strasbourg, France.
But the appeal did little to allay fears among those living in the embattled areas of eastern Ukraine that fighting would intensify when Kiev's unilateral cease-fire expired early Friday.
Ukrainian border guards reported miles-long lines of cars at the Izvaryne crossing into Russia. More than 90,000 arrivals from Ukraine had already been registered by the Russian Migration Service as of last week, the government reported, although most said they were only temporarily relocating.
Ukrainian officials have accused Russian President
Putin has denied backing the rebellion in the largely Russian-speaking eastern regions, although many of its leaders are Russian citizens and veterans of other regional conflicts in former Soviet territory.
More than 400 people have been killed in the conflict between pro-Russia gunmen and Ukraine's security forces, officials said.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry and German Chancellor
"It is critical for Russia to show in the next hours, literally, that they're moving to help disarm the separatists, to encourage them to disarm," Kerry said after meeting with his French counterpart in Paris.
Merkel called Putin to make the same point. German and Russian government accounts of the conversation quoted her as telling the Kremlin leader he had to demonstrate "in the coming hours" that he was making sincere efforts to quell the fighting or the
Poroshenko will also be at the EU meeting in Brussels on Friday to sign an association agreement with the 28-nation bloc that is intended to realign the Ukrainian economy with western trading partners and navigate a path to eventual membership in the alliance.
It was the decision by Poroshenko's predecessor,
Russia opposes Ukraine's shift toward Western Europe as it is expected to weaken Kremlin influence over affairs in the neighboring former Soviet republic, where about one in four citizens is Russian or Russian-speaking.