MOSCOW, August 29 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso discussed Ukraine’s EU association and Russian gas transit via Ukraine, the Kremlin press service said Friday.
The sides discussed “further joint actions in the wake of the Minsk meeting of the Customs Union leaders with the president of Ukraine and EU representatives, including in the context of Ukraine’s EU Association Agreement and the transit of Russian natural gas via the territory of Ukraine,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
On Tuesday, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, as well as European Union officials had a meeting in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The sides discussed several issues, including the situation in Ukraine.
Despite differences in attitude to the crisis in Ukraine, all participants of the meeting agreed that the crisis should be de-escalated in a non-violent manner.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a private one-on-one conversation on Tuesday evening, after the multilateral talks. After two hours of one-on-one talks with the Russian president, Poroshenko promised a “roadmap” that would help “achieve a ceasefire regime as soon as possible that absolutely must be bilateral in character." Putin said Russia is ready to build the trust necessary for the negotiations process, but noted that it was not for Russia to discuss the specific ceasefire terms between Kiev and Ukraine’s eastern regions.
Since mid-April, Kiev has been conducting a military operation against the southeastern regions of Ukraine that refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new government after a February coup.
Moscow has repeatedly condemned Kiev’s military campaign against independence supporters in the east of the country and urged for an immediate stop to the punitive operation, advocating a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
Over 2,500 people, including the victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash, have been killed and more than 6,000 injured since the start of Kiev’s military operation against the militias in eastern Ukraine in mid-April, according to the United Nations.