Putin meets Obama, Poroshenko on D-Day event sidelines

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 that an “informal” meeting had taken place, saying it had lasted 10 to 15 minutes.

Earlier in the day, Putin and Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko, met informally with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Reuters reported.

Putin, Poroshenko and Merkel talked together as they walked into the Chateau de Benouville, in Normandy, where world leaders had lunch together.

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

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.”

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.

Source: VOANews.com