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Putin Says Poroshenko Has 'Right Approach' To Ukraine Crisis

Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko (right) talks to Russian President Vladimir Putin after a group photo during the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Benouville on June 6.
Putin and Poroshenko met on the sidelines of the June 6 D-Day anniversary events in France, their first meeting since Poroshenko was elected president of Ukraine on May 25.

Putin later told reporters that, during the 15-minute meeting, he and Poroshenko discussed the main issues related to settling the crisis.

He said he welcomes Poroshenko's position that the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine needs to be stopped.

The Russian president said he expects the Ukrainian leadership to show "good will" and "state wisdom."

He also reiterated Russia's position that what Moscow describes as a "punitive operation" by security forces in eastern Ukraine must stop.

The Kremlin earlier said Putin and Poroshenko had called for a quick end to the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine and agreed that hostilities must be stopped by both sides -- the Ukrainian armed forces and the insurgents.

Putin also said he did not discuss gas prices with Poroshenko, but he said he believed Russia's Gazprom and Ukraine's natural gas company were "close to a definitive deal."

Poroshenko separately told reporters in Normandy that he sees "good chances" of successful dialogue with Russia.

Putin also spoke with U.S. President Barack Obama on at the D-Day ceremonies.

A senior U.S. official said Obama told Putin personally that he must de-escalate tensions in Ukraine or face further isolation.

Ben Rhodes, a deputy U.S. national security advisor, also said Obama indicated that, if Russia engaged with the new government in Kyiv, "there could be openings to reduce tensions."

Putin described his talks with Obama as "substantial."

The meeting was the first face-to-face encounter between the U.S. and the Russian leaders since the Ukrainian crisis erupted.

The events to mark the 70th anniversary of the 1944 landings of Allied troops in Normandy came amid a deep rift between Russia and Western nations over Moscow's actions in Ukraine.

The events were preceded by intense diplomacy in the hope that the gathering of world leaders would lead to a thaw in tensions.

Putin also said separate talks he held in France with the French, British, and German leaders were "very positive."

At a summit in Brussels this week, leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrial countries said they were prepared to impose further sanctions against Russia unless Moscow recognized the legitimacy of the Ukrainian government and ended support for the separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.
With reporting by AP, AFP, and Interfax
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