Putin may meet Ukraine's Poroshenko in Italy

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Ukrainian servicemen man a checkpoint in the region of Lugansk on October 7th. Photo: Anatoli Boiko/AFP
10:57 CEST+02:00
Russian President Vladimir Putin may hold talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko on the sidelines of a summit in Italy later this month, his aide said on Thursday.

Putin's top foreign policy adviser Yury Ushakov said the Kremlin was working to put together a meeting that would also include German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.

"A meeting in the 'Normandy format' - Putin, Merkel, Hollande, Poroshenko - is not ruled out," Ushakov told Russian news agencies.

The Kremlin "is now involved in this - possible contacts are being worked out."

Ushakov was referring to a landmark meeting between Putin and Poroshenko on the sidelines of D-Day anniversary ceremonies in Normandy in June, shortly after Poroshenko was elected president on May 25th.

Putin also met the Ukrainian leader in Belarussian capital Minsk in August, for one-on-one talks on the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

A one-month truce in Ukraine is teetering on the verge of collapse as violence in the rebel-held east shows few signs of abating.

Host Italy has said Putin has confirmed his attendance at an Asia-Europe (Asem) summit in Italy later this month, in what will be his first encounter with Western leaders since the Ukraine crisis deepened this summer.

Italy is hosting the October 16th and 17th summit in Milan as it currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

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Putin met US President Barack Obama and other Western leaders at the D-Day anniversary in France in early June but there have been no face-to-face encounters since.

Also expected at Asem are Merkel, who normally takes a lead in Western contacts with Putin, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, among others.

Some 3,500 people have died since the crisis erupted early this year following Russia's annexation of Crimea in March.

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