Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s newly elected leader Petro Poroshenko have spoken of their desire for a quick end to hostilities in south-eastern Ukraine during their meeting at the D-Day commemorations in France, a Russian spokesman said.
Mr Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said: “During the brief conversation, both Putin and Poroshenko spoke for the soonest end to bloodshed in south-eastern Ukraine and combat actions by both parties: the Ukrainian armed forces and supporters of the federalisation of Ukraine.”
Mr Peskov said that Mr Putin and Mr Poroshenko also “confirmed that there is no alternative to settling the situation by peaceful political means”.
French president Francois Hollande and German chancellor Angela Merkel also joined in what French officials said was a 15-minute encounter.
Mr Peskov also said that Mr Putin talked separately with US president Barack Obama and they “exchanged opinions about the situation in Ukraine and the crisis in the country’s east”.
“Putin and Obama spoke for the need to end violence and fighting as quickly as possible,” Mr Peskov said.
In recent weeks, Ukrainian officials say more than 200 people have died in fighting between Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian rebels.
Confectionery magnate Mr Poroshenko, who is to be sworn in as Ukraine’s next president on Saturday, has promised a comprehensive plan to put an end to the hostilities in the east as soon as he assumes office.
Mr Putin held his first face-to-face meetings with western leaders in France this week since pro-European protesters pushed out Ukraine’s Russia-friendly president in February.