Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko in the latest attempt to ease tensions over the simmering conflict in eastern Ukraine, VOA reports.
Several other European leaders attended the meeting Friday morning in Milan, but there was little indication of progress in patching up the cease-fire in eastern Ukraine and resolving a dispute over natural gas supplies.
Earlier Friday, Putin met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Kremlin said afterwards the two leaders remain at odds on how to resolve the crisis in Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin's talks with Ukraine's president and European Union leaders in Milan are proving "difficult."
“The talks are indeed difficult, full of misunderstandings, disagreements, but they are nevertheless ongoing, the exchange [of] opinion is in progress,” Peskov told reporters.
Putin, Poroshenko, Merkel and French President Francois Hollande were due to hold more talks later on Friday, the Kremlin added.
The Ukraine crisis is expected to dominate the Asia-Russia summit in Milan, with both Moscow and Western governments seeking to resolve the gas dispute and end six months of fighting between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukraine government.
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