Putin says up to Ukraine to clinch ceasefire

by Reuters
Tuesday, 26 August 2014 22:09 GMT

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MINSK, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday he and Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko had discussed the need for a swift end to bloodshed in Ukraine, but it was up to Kiev to work out conditions for a ceasefire with separatist rebels.

Putin and Poroshenko held two hours of one-on-one talks after six hours of wider negotiations with European Union officials and the leaders of Belarus and Kazakhstan, aimed at ending the crisis in Ukraine.

"We talked about the need to end bloodshed as soon as possible, about the need to shift towards political resolution of all issues," Putin told journalists. "Russia, for its part, will do everything to support this peace process if it starts."

But he also said it was up to Kiev to agree terms for a ceasefire with the pro-Russian rebels in two eastern regions who are fighting to split from Ukraine.

The West accuses Russia of supporting the separatists and supplying them with weapons. Moscow denies that.

Putin also said the two presidents agreed to talks on a resumption of gas supplies from Russia to Ukraine. The two countries are at loggerheads over the conflict in the east, Kiev's drive to build relations with the European Union, and trade and energy issues.

"We need to resume our energy dialogue, including about gas problems. Sincerely speaking, this is a complicated issue, it has reached a dead end, but we still need to talk about it. We agreed to resume these consultations," Putin said.

He reiterated that Russia would take steps to protect its economy if its concerns, related to Kiev's trade and association agreements with the European Union, are not addressed. (Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk, Writing by Gabriela Baczynska, Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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