Ukraine’s newly sworn-in President Petro Poroshenko has met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for informal talks on the sidelines of the D-Day commemorations in France, raising hopes of ending the continuing violence.
The two men met for around 15 minutes on Friday to discuss resolving the most serious East-West crisis since the end of the Cold War.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Putin welcomed proposals set out by Mr Poroshenko, who was officially sworn in as Ukraine’s new president on Saturday morning, for ending the conflict.
He said: “I can only welcome Mr Poroshenko’s position that the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine must be stopped immediately.”
And Mr Poroshenko said: “The dialogue has begun, and that’s a good thing.
“A Russian representative will travel to Ukraine, and we will discuss with him the first steps towards a plan (to resolve) the situation … We have a good chance of implementing it.”
French President Francois Hollande told a war veteran at the main ceremony in Normandy that world leaders had wanted to use the 70th anniversary commemorations to bring the two sides together to discuss the Ukraine crisis.