News / Europe

Putin Meets Obama, Poroshenko on D-Day Event Sidelines

Ukraine's President-elect Petro Poroshenko, left, walks past Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 70th anniversary commemoration of D-Day in Ouistreham, western France, June 6, 2014.
Ukraine's President-elect Petro Poroshenko, left, walks past Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 70th anniversary commemoration of D-Day in Ouistreham, western France, June 6, 2014.
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin held brief talks on the sidelines of D-Day anniversary celebrations in Normandy, France, on Friday.

A White House official confirmed the two met for about 15 minutes after a luncheon for world leaders at the Chateau de Benouville.

Obama made clear to Putin that de-escalating the crisis in Ukraine depends upon Moscow recognizing President-elect Petro Poroshenko - scheduled to take office Saturday - as the country's legitimate leader, ceasing support for pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine, and stopping the provision of arms and materiel across the border, a White House representative said.

Obama urged Putin to immediately collaborate with the Kyiv government to reduce tensions, warning that failure to do so would deepen Russia's isolation, the representative said.

Earlier in the day, Putin and Poroshenko met informally with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They talked informally as they walked into the chateau.

French officials were quoted as saying Putin and Poroshenko discussed a possible ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists.

Russian news agencies quoted Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, as saying that during their conversation, both leaders called for "a speedy end to to the bloodshed in southeastern Ukraine and to the military actions of both sides - the Ukrainian armed forces and the supporters of the federalization of Ukraine."
 
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Ukrainian president-elect Petro Poroshenko, center, talk after a group photo, June 6, 2014.German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Ukrainian president-elect Petro Poroshenko, center, talk after a group photo, June 6, 2014.
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Ukrainian president-elect Petro Poroshenko, center, talk after a group photo, June 6, 2014.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Ukrainian president-elect Petro Poroshenko, center, talk after a group photo, June 6, 2014.
French President Francois Hollande had personally invited Putin to the D-Day commemoration, in recognition of at least 20 million Soviets killed during World War II. Reuters, on Twitter, reported Hollande's office as saying Putin and Poroshenko shook hands.

Western officials had expressed hope that informal contacts between Putin and Poroshenko during the one-day event can help ease tensions over Ukraine's future, after Russia seized and annexed the Crimea region following the ouster of a pro-Russian president in Kyiv in February.

A day earlier, he met British Prime Minister David Cameron and Hollande to discuss Moscow's role in the unrest.

The commemorations in Normandy have brought together world leaders, many of whom are urging Moscow to stop its support for the ongoing pro-Russian separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine.

Violence continued in the region Friday. Ukraine's Interior Ministry reported that separatists in the city of Slavyonsk fired a mortar at checkpoints set up by security forces, killing a member of the ministry's special forces and seriously wounding two others.

Also Friday, separatists claimed they shot down a manned reconnaissance plane over Slovyansk. Several videos purporting to show the downing of the aircraft were posted to the Internet.

Dialogue encouraged

On Thursday, Obama had urged Russia to negotiate directly with the newly elected Ukraine government, and he called on Putin to stop the cross-border flow of armed Russian militias into Ukraine.

At a G7 meeting in Brussels earlier that day, leaders warned that more economic sanctions could come within weeks if the Kremlin fails to curb its support for the rebels.

The United States and Britain have been the leading proponents of sanctions on Russian businesses and individuals in Putin's inner circle - but both countries have so far stopped short of harsher penalties on key Russian economic sectors.

France and Germany, which maintain strong energy and trade ties with Russia, have been less aggressive in their public statements.

The Brussels summit was originally scheduled as a G8 in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. But after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in March, Western powers rejected Putin's invitation and moved the summit to Brussels.

VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez contributed to this report. Some information  was provided by Reuters.

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Comments
     
by: TALL EAGLE from: Seattle, WA
June 07, 2014 1:52 AM
If you would like to know who the aggressors are... compare the number of US military bases around the world w. those of China and/or Russia...!!!

by: N W B from: UK
June 06, 2014 11:18 PM
USA has lost credibility on world stage after it let Syrian people down in 2011 which resulted of killing more than 150000 dead and fleeing mora than half of population to neighbouring countries in despair conditions. Therefore Russia took opportunity to seize control part of Ukraine and will not hesitate to do it again, Russia signed a deal to sell gas to China for billions which lasts decades. Now Russia more powerful than ever while USA is kneeling down on all international affairs as someone who has cancer.

by: Donald Fraser Miles from: Elliot Lake, Canada
June 06, 2014 6:18 PM
I believe the Ukraine crisis is over. Mopping up the conflict should take little time as separatist and Ukrainian forces disentangle. Putin is amenable to this disentanglement. The D-Day ceremony, the commemoration of sacrifice but eventual victory over Nazism, has created a golden opportunity for peace.
In Response

by: S H from: USA
June 06, 2014 8:31 PM
Except The Crimea.

The Russian oligarchy has spoilt so little of its vast resources that it will far outlast anything that is not empirical invasion.

I'm not suggesting invading, but rather that the Russians have far more resource potential than America. Just sitting there, while we put everything into Now.

Knowing this, the Russians took some warm water port infrastructure, and a powerful capitalist now sits in Kyiv, and even has a tenable relationship with Moscow.

Russia will observe and refine it's position with each passing day.

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