Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president-elect Petro Poroshenko on Friday called for end to hostilities in Ukraine after they met during the D-Day anniversary event in France.
Reports of the statement calling for a quick end to bloodshed in Ukraine came from the Kremlin. A French official reported that the two leaders discussed a possible ceasefire agreement in Ukraine.
The 15-minute meeting, hosted by French President François Hollande, marked the first time the two leaders have met since Poroshenko was elected president of Ukraine, which remains restive after the annexation of Crimea by Russia.
The two leaders talked for a quarter of an hour in a meeting hosted by French President François Hollande.
“The conversation took place on possible measures to de-escalate (the crisis) including how Moscow could recognise the election of Poroshenko. The details of a ceasefire will also be discussed in coming days,” the official in French President Hollande’s office said, adding that they also discussed the economic consequences of the stand-off.
Later in the day, Putin said that he welcomed plans put forward by Poroshenko to stop the violence in Ukraine, saying that the president elect had the “right approach” to the crisis.
However, he also said Ukraine must stop what he called a “punitive” military operation in its southeast region and warned that Russia would retaliate with measures to protect its economy if Kiev signed an association pact with the European Union.
Putin also said that the two nations were “close to a deal” on gas.
Putin speaks to Obama
Putin also apparently spoke about the need to end violence in Ukraine with US President Barack Obama.
Obama told Putin during a brief informal meeting Friday that if Russia works with the new Ukraine government, there could be openings to reduce tensions, said a White House official.
Putin and Obama spoke on the sidelines of a lunch for world leaders attending the D-Day commemoration ceremonies. It was their first face-to-face conversation since the crisis in Ukraine erupted.
There was much speculation leading up to the WWII commemoration events over whether the two leaders, dead-locked after failed international talks, would speak or awkwardly sidestep each other.
The conversation was informal and lasted 10-15 minutes, the White House said.
The two world leaders also apparently spoke about the need to end violence in Ukraine with US President Barack Obama.
“Putin and Obama spoke for the need to end violence and fighting as quickly as possible,” said Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Peskov said that Obama and Putin had exchanged views about the situation in Ukraine and the crisis in the east, where Ukrainian forces have been fighting with pro-Russian insurgents.
Today’s historic meetings took place in the time surrounding the lunch organised for the world leaders’ present.
As leaders posed outside the building for a group photo before the lunch, Obama and Putin appeared to be avoiding each other deliberately. But once inside, they made time for their first such exchange since Putin annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
The AFP reported that the first meeting between Putin and Poroshenko also took place informally after the group photo. After the photo, most of the leaders walked into a nearby building for the lunch. But Putin, Poroshenko and German Chancellor Angela Merkel stayed outside the door and spoke together.
Reporters observing the encounter couldn’t hear the conversation. The animated conversation lasted about a minute.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AP)
Date created : 2014-06-06