Ukraine’s President-elect Petro Poroshenko (L) walks past Russian President Vladimir Putin during an international D-Day commemoration ceremony on the beach of Ouistreham, Normandy, on June 6, 2014.(AFP Photo / Christophe Ena)
Russian President Vladimir Putin is arriving in Minsk for talks with the leaders of the member states of the Eurasian Customs Union, Ukraine and representatives of the EU. Putin could also hold a bilateral meeting with Petro Poroshenko, the Kremlin said.
The negotiations will be as part of a Customs Union summit, which also includes the Ukrainian president and representatives of the European Commission, said the Kremlin’s press service. The Customs Union comprises Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
The humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine will be discussed during the meeting between the Customs Union and Ukraine, according to Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
“[One] can’t ignore the catastrophic situation in eastern regions of Ukraine, especially in Donetsk and Lugansk [Regions],” he said, adding that the key issue on the agenda is “the relations between and countries of the Customs Union and Ukraine, including in the aftermath of the signing of the Kiev Association Agreement.”
Peskov also didn’t exclude the bilateral meeting between Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart.
“There are many issues for discussion [between Putin and Poroshenko],” he said, “They [issues] include Ukrainian domestic crisis and terrible humanitarian catastrophe in the country’s east, and the necessity of the ceasefire.”
Putin and Poroshenko may also discuss “bilateral relations between Russian Federation and Ukraine,” including in the aftermath of Kiev’s signing the European Trade Association Agreement with the EU.
The bilateral talks between Putin and Poroshenko, if they take place, will be the first negotiations between the leaders. They last met during the D-Day anniversary commemorations in Normandy, France on June 6 – a day before Poroshenko’s inauguration as Ukrainian president. However, that meeting lasted less than 10 minutes and included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande.
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