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Putin Welcomes EU Officials In Yekaterinburg

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right), European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (center), and EC President Jose Manuel Barroso meet in Yekaterinburg.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has hosted an informal dinner in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg to open a Russia-EU summit.

The dinner was a prelude to the summit's main agenda, which is scheduled for June 4.

Putin welcomed EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to the summit, which will cover the global economy, energy, visa issues, and the situation in Syria.

Prior to the meeting, Ashton said the EU is concerned about Moscow's crackdown on nongovernmental organizations.

She also said she would ask Putin about the investigation into the 2009 death in custody of whistle-blowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

Based on reporting by AFP and Interfax