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Putin to meet Ukranian president Petro Poroshenko over border conflict

26 August 2014

A meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko, is set to take place as tensions rise of the borders of the two countries, Bloomberg reported.

The leaders would engage in talks today with EU representatives in Minsk, Belarus, during a summit of the Customs Union, a Russian-led trade bloc.

According to Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, no separate bilateral meeting had yet been planned between them.

The conflict, according to the UN had left at least 2,000 dead since Putin annexed Crimea in March. Ukraine said today 200 pro-Russian rebels and 12 Ukrainian servicemen had been killed in the past 24 hours.

According to military spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, Russia was attempting to ''create a new front'' in the fighting close to the Sea of Azov in the southern Donetsk region.

''There is little ground for optimism,'' Lilit Gevorgyan, senior analyst at IHS Global Insight in London, said by e-mail. ''Neither Russian nor Ukrainian leaders are ready for a serious compromise to end the conflict as both have to keep up the appearance of being a staunch defender of their respective national interests.''

Lavrov said yesterday that everyone expected the Minsk meeting would allow the exchange of opinions on the extent that efforts were on in settling the political process with the goal of settling the crisis in Ukraine.

The two leaders would meet for the first time after their informal June meeting while attending the World War II commemoration ceremony in Normandy, RIA Novosti reported.

Apart from the Russian and Ukrainian presidents the Minsk talks would also be attended by Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief, Guenther Oettinger, the European energy commissioner, and Karel De Gucht, the European trade commissioner.

In a comment on the upcoming meet, Ashton said last Sunday that in Minsk she would seek to convey to Ukrainian authorities the importance of good relations both with EU countries and Russia.

''You need good relations with your European neighbours; you need good relations with your Russian neighbours ... This is the message that I will take to Minsk,'' Ashton said at a European political forum in the Austrian town of Alpbach.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov revealed yesterday that among the topics that could come up at the Putin-Poroshenko meeting are the Ukrainian crisis, humanitarian aid and the flow of refugees into Russia.

The possibility of an inclusive internal dialogue between Kiev and the eastern regions of Ukraine, which Peskov says is ''the only way to resolve the conflict," could also be discussed.

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