Putin: Ceasefire needed for Ukraine talks
MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday an immediate ceasefire in eastern Ukraine is necessary to create conditions for talks.
Speaking to reporters in Normandy in remarks televised live on Russian television, Putin said he expects Ukrainian president-elect Petro Poroshenko to show "good will" and "state wisdom." Putin also said that Moscow is ready for constructive discussion with Ukraine on settling its gas debt to Russia.
He said that he and Poroshenko met for 15 minutes to discuss the main issues related to settling the crisis. The leader said he welcomes Poroshenko's position that the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine needs to be stopped.
Poroshenko, speaking to journalists in Normandy, said that he expects a statement from Russia about the recognition of his election, according to the Interfax news agency.
The meeting between Putin and Poroshenko came on the same day that Putin spoke with President Barack Obama, who had been keeping the Russian leader at arm's length over the Ukrainian crisis that has rekindled Cold War-era tensions.
The Kremlin earlier said the two men called for the "soonest end to bloodshed in southeastern Ukraine and combat by both parties, the Ukrainian armed forces and supporters of the federalization of Ukraine," in a statement carried by Russian news wires.
Putin, who was frozen out of G-7 talks Thursday in Brussels, appeared to be moving incrementally back into the fold of the West following his first direct talks with the man elected to lead Ukraine after the previous pro-Kremlin president was ousted in what Putin has called a coup.