UK & World News
Ukraine And Russia Talk Of 'Ending Bloodshed'
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.
Mr Hollande, responding to a question about Mr Putin during a conversation with the war veteran, described the meeting as "friendly".
He said: "Yes we talked to him and with President Poroshenko, we made Ukraine and Russia talk."
After the photo, Mr Poroshenko, Mr Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel remained outside as they talked.
The talks were the first meeting between the two leaders since Mr Poroshenko was elected on May 25, after promising to bridge the East-West divide that has split the country and thrown it into conflict.
US President Barack Obama also spoke to Mr Putin at the commemoration ceremonies, marking their first face-to-face conversation since the crisis began in Ukraine.
The White House said the conversation was informal and lasted around 15 minutes as the leaders ate lunch inside a chateau.
"President Obama made clear that de-escalation depends upon Russia recognising President Poroshenko as the legitimate leader of Ukraine, ceasing support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, and stopping the provision of arms and material across the border," said US deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes.
"If Russia does take this opportunity to recognise and work with the new government in Kiev, President Obama indicated that there could be openings to reduce tensions," added Mr Rhodes.
Mr Putin also held meetings with Prime Minister David Cameron, Mrs Merkel and French president Francois Hollande this week to discuss sanctions imposed on Russia after it annexed the Crimean peninsula.
It comes after 15 pro-Russian rebels were killed at a border crossing on Thursday.
Five Ukrainian soldiers were also injured during the clashes. Parts of the border in eastern Ukraine were closed after the incident.
Officials have claimed more than 200 people have died in fighting between Ukraine government troops and pro-Russian rebels in recent weeks.