Putin to discuss Ukraine with France's Hollande in Paris

by Reuters
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 09:49 GMT

(Adds details, background)

MOSCOW, May 28 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin will discuss the crisis in Ukraine with French President Francois Hollande in Paris on June 5, his first meeting with a major Western leader since Moscow annexed Crimea.

A Kremlin foreign policy aide said on Wednesday the talks would be held in the French leader's Elysee Palace on the eve of World War Two anniversary events taking place in the French city of Deauville.

Putin, U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are all expected to be in Deauville but the aide, Yuri Ushakov, made no mention of any other leaders attending the talks in Paris.

He told a news briefing that Putin might have contact with other leaders while in Deauville, but that any other meetings would be informal.

Ushakov said the talks with Hollande would cover "fundamental international and bilateral issues, including the Ukraine crisis." He gave no other details.

Although Putin has frequently spoken to foreign heads of state and government by telephone since the start of the Ukraine crisis, his last known meeting with a Western leader was during the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

His last foreign trip to meet Western leaders was a visit to Brussels for talks with European Union leaders in January.

The European Union and the United States have imposed sanctions on Russia over its annexation of the Crimea peninsula in March, but the push for new punitive measures by Europe has slowed since Ukraine's presidential election on Sunday.

France has also said that Russia's actions in Ukraine could endanger a 1.2 billion euro ($1.63 billion) helicopter carrier deal signed in 2011 to boost Russia's military modernisation.

($1 = 0.7345 Euros) (Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk, Writing by Thomas Grove, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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