The United States, Russia and Ukraine took small steps on Friday to ease tensions as President Obama briefly met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for 15 minutes on the sidelines of D-Day commemorations here.
According to the White House, Obama told Putin that the election last month of a new Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, is “an opportunity that should be taken,” and he made clear that “de-escalation depends upon Russia recognizing President-elect Poroshenko as the legitimate leader of Ukraine, ceasing support for separatists in eastern Ukraine and stopping the provision of arms and materiel across the border.”
Obama also noted that Poroshenko has pledged to pursue reforms to protect the interests of all Ukrainians.
“President Obama made clear that a failure to take these steps would only deepen Russia’s isolation,” the White House said. “If Russia does take this opportunity to recognize and work with the new government in Kiev, President Obama indicated that there could be openings to reduce tensions.”
The White House said the meeting took place during a D-Day luncheon of more than 20 world leaders hosted by French President François Hollande !!